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Injuries Chronic & Acute

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Old 07-13-2008, 07:48 AM   #1
Kane Greene
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Tennis Elbow

Let me first say that this is by far the most irritating injury I have ever had as far as hampering my workout abilities. I've had stress fractures, broken arms, ribs, etc. and nothing has taken longer to heal than the tendon in my left elbow.

About 8-9 months ago I did a pull-up work out with a buddy of mine(wide, regular, close, reverse, climber, that totaled about 250-300reps), and towards the last portion of the workout I needed assistance on the last couple reps. Which I didn't think was abnormal because it's a lot of pullups.

The next day my arms and back were sore as you would expect. Then I woke up in the middle of the night and my arms wouldn't bend more than 2-4 inches. It was like someone tied a knot in the middle of my tendons and it was accompanied by the most horried pain. It scared the **** out of me. I walked around the house and tried to stretch them out, but it really didn't accomplish much.

So after staying up all night I drove to work, and did what you are supposed to do in the Navy and saw a corpsman. He told me I just overworked it and to take Motrin and ice it and to avoid upper body workouts that involved arms. By this time my flexibility was a little better, so I did what he said.

I stuck to running for 2 weeks because I didn't have full mobility in my arms for about 8 days. Then finally, my arms weren't sore anymore, and after a few days extra rest I decided to do some upper body. Any push exercises were fine, everything felt normal. Then I figured I'd hop on the pull-up bar and do a couple rounds, only to find out I couldn't do ONE PULLUP. NOT ONE. I could get halfway up and my muscles just wouldn't cooperate in completing a pullup. Which to me set off all kinds of alarms because before this incident I could hop on a bar and do 19-22 dead hang pull-ups when fresh.

When I went back to see Doc he told me I didn't take enough time off and to give it another month. I asked to see a real doctor which expertise in sports med and he said no. Which is definately one down side to being junior enlisted.

So this run around continued for a while and I didn't do pullups for a while. Basically I just became a cardio machine. Then I figured I'd give it another shot. I approached the pull up bar and knocked out a whopping 3. But the problem was that the tendon in my left arm hurt like hell. My right arm was fine, but the left was still having issues.

I got to see a different corpsman and he gave me a *** brace to put on my left arm and said to just try easing back into it. THEY STILL WILL NOT SEND ME TO SEE SOMEONE WITH A PHD. So in the past 2 months I've been using my brace and easing back into pullups. I still can't really get past 6 and my arm still hurts. I usually end up doing some Lat Pull downs to supplement pull ups in hopes of recouping my arm. I'm sick of this, I just want to be able to workout like I used to.


Has anyone else here had this kind of injury in the past? I was told by the doc that gave me the brace that it is tennis elbow and can take a long time to heal. I'm curious to know if he has any idea what he's talking about.

ADVICE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRICIATED!
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Old 07-13-2008, 04:22 PM   #2
Kevin Seiwell
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Re: Tennis Elbow

I'm with you, same thing. I'm going on five or six weeks without pullups, hurts like hell in my left elbow. It even hurts to hold a 20 lb wall ball out in front of me. A few posts can be found on this issue most say rest and plenty of ice. Nothing seemed to have worked for me. Just Friday I said the hell with it and starting doing them again "Not to many" Going to see if it gets worse. Taking a week off starting next Sunday so I may have the time to keep ice on it enough times to make a differance.
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:10 PM   #3
Kane Greene
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Try using a heating pad as well as ice. That seemed to help me.
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
Christian Lemburg
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Hi Kane, hi Kevin,

did you try to self-massage the muscles involved?

Your type of injury certainly sounds like it would set off a very bad trigger point.

For more info on why and how to massage, see http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=27539.

Good luck, and fast recovery,

Christian
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:43 AM   #5
Kane Greene
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Thanks a lot Christian. I'm going to look into this more and start to apply it. I've never heard of trigger points before, but it sounds like it may be the problem.


Again, it is greatly appriciated!
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:13 PM   #6
Jeff Brady
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Kane,

I too have been struggling with this injury for about 3 months now and it is FINALLY feeling better. I was able to get near my max deadlift last week with only minimal pain afterwards. But I feel your pain on this as do many other CFers, judging by the amount of posts on this board. But it will heal, don't worry. But do take it easy on anything that pulls on your elbow.

I absolutely LOVE this program and don't want to water it down or sound like a wuss, but one thing I would like to see is more mention of this injury and how to avoid it and perhaps a reduction in the emphasis on pull-ups. This is a very common injury in Crossfit, and one that has a particularly lengthy recovery.

I think the reason I got the injury is that I suck at pullups and when I see WODs that have 50+ pullups prescribed, whereas I can only do 5, I feel like such a schmuck that I try to push myself beyond my limits in order to get to the point of actually being able to do 50. I now realize it is likely that I will never get there. I busted it trying to do pullups for 6 months and got to maybe 6 or 7. Then the tendonitis and now I'm back to maybe 3. Now, I just do what I can do without pushing too hard and then do jumpers for the rest. I'm not going to mess with the tendons anymore, even if I never can achieve the high pull-up numbers posted on here.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:52 AM   #7
Eric Machus
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Brady View Post
Kane,

I too have been struggling with this injury for about 3 months now and it is FINALLY feeling better. I was able to get near my max deadlift last week with only minimal pain afterwards. But I feel your pain on this as do many other CFers, judging by the amount of posts on this board. But it will heal, don't worry. But do take it easy on anything that pulls on your elbow.

I absolutely LOVE this program and don't want to water it down or sound like a wuss, but one thing I would like to see is more mention of this injury and how to avoid it and perhaps a reduction in the emphasis on pull-ups. This is a very common injury in Crossfit, and one that has a particularly lengthy recovery.
I also developed some fierce tennis or pull-up elbow. I never had this before this winter when I developed it on the right sideby getting way too into racquet sports.

Now I have it on the left side. I got it this time by doing chinups. To get faster on the pullup workouts I would partition the 100 pullups into sets of 10 pulls then chins and on muscle-up/ring subs. The fwd stretch of the kipping chins got me I think. Way, super frustrating. I have tried to go lighter on pullups and only do pulls not chins but the tendonitis is not going away. If a straighten my arms so it kind of stretches the elbow, yikes.

Recovery blows, I took a couple of week breaks in the winter that helped with the tennis elbow plus the aircast/brace really worked for the racket type but this one feels different.

I can't really stay into CF w/out the pullups, doesn't feel like CF without them

not to mention I don't know how you can avoid pulling and do CF. I mean sure drop pullups but pretty much every oly lift involves pulling.

anyway, this may drive me back into bodybuilding and running for awhile. just do pushups, hspus, presses, tri pushdowns (yuck), bent one arm rows (hehe, just kidding). pretty annoying.

I took a month off of racket sports and that did the trick for me. I still can 'feel' the injury sometimes but it is just that. no pain, just a faint sensation.

hopefully rest will do the same now.

Kane, I agree. this is the most nagging, irritating POS injury ever. Your version sounds really extreme and more involve a more serious injury than just tendonitis. Either way I think you should really invest in a lot of ice time, ibuprofen, rest and massage/manipulation for that puppy. good luck.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:13 AM   #8
Camille Lore
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Re: Tennis Elbow

I think mine is finally better. YAY
I've been icing daily, and I think that does really help.
Another thing I hadn't mentioned, but found elsewhere is: do neutral grip pullups. The twisting of forearms in or out seems to hinder things.
And, do negatives. There's an article on tendinitis on TNation where the author swears that got him back out of tendinitis. I've been doing negatives since I read that.
It doesn't feel like CF without pullups, you're right. And even holding a heavy bar aggravates things. Heck, hanging off my motorcycle bars and typing hurt!
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