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BrianBM

Tennis #@$%^! elbow

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I took a stroll by Mt Sinai harbor this Sunday, to practice flycasting, and promptly reawakened a nasty case of tennis elbow (?) which which I'd finished out November. The prescription is apparently rest and a bit of weightlifting to better protect the tendon in question. I'll drop down to an Orvis 9wt from the STS 10 I've been using, and if need be, learn to cast lefthanded - but I'd rather not. Is there any value to tightly wrapping the elbow area? Sprain is a bit below the elbow, so it's definitley a tendon and not a joint.

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Brian, I had a very bad case of "tennis elbow" several years ago. It seems it results more from turning your wrist over when you cast than anything else. While I was suffering from it, what helped more than anything during the season was a commercial tennis elbow brace that I bought at Sports Authority. It fit on my foream, from about an inch or so below my elbow to just above the wrist, it had velcro cuffs that fastened it in those places and a hard plastic brace that ran between them right along the length of the tendon that is affected by tennis elbow. The only thing that finally helped was a winter of rest. This was so bad that it was painful to shake hands, which is bad news for anyone that has to deal with clients.

 

After the winter, I had my buddy Brad watch me cast and he spotted the problem. I was turning my wrist over on the cast, but this was only the case with spinning reels. Having to thumb the spool helped keep my wrist flat on conventionals. Fortunately, at the time, all of my big rods had no reel seats, I used to tape the reels on. So it was no big deal to shorten the distance between the butt and the reel, which ended the problem. Apparently, I unconsciously pronate my wrist when I extend my arm towards the end of the cast, and I tend not to do it with a shorter distance between the butt and the reel.

 

Try one of those braces, I think they're less than $20. But any type of wrap or brace an inch or two below the elbow helps.

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Thanks; I'll pick one up. Don't really want to have to try and learn lefthanded casting.....I had thought that a couple of months without the rod would do, but (apparently) not. Never had the problem with spinning/conventional tackle. I'm also told that, after the inflammation subsides, a course of light weightlifting would help prevent a reoccurance.

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Brian,

Follow Ditch Jiggers advice and get a brace. It even works when your playing tennis.

Almost everyone I've ever talked to who developed tennis elbow while FFing had two things in common. One: They were using a fast action rod - which tends to shock your arm with each false cast. Two: They cast with their thumb on top of the rod 'a la Lefty' rather than holding there thumb on the side of the rod parallel with it.

After over 40 years of FFing without a problem, I developed tennis elbow this past season. I was using a fast action rod and casting with my thumb on top of the rod. I never did either in the past. I also developed it after not FFing for about a month and spending 12 hours one day casting.

Usually I would start in the spring and only fish for a couple of hours before leaving due to cold or approaching bedtime. I would usually get out 4 or 5 times a week. This gradual start would allow arm strength to build up.

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Hmm, I see that other people than myself get on the board for a quick check before leaving for work. Hi Mike! I do hold the rod with the thumb on top, and it's a Scott STS 9510 - very, very, very fast. The thumb grip is a necessity with this rod, but your comment does indicate that I need that course of weight training to address the rod's demands. An interesting post. There's a softer but heavier Fisher 10wt and an Orvis 9 in reserve, though, so I can back off. I have to.

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Brian,

 

Is this the same Brian from the wmi board last year who went to Temple undergrad, ie, the bluefish king? If so, did you decide on a law school yet?

 

John D.

 

------------------

 

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JohnD, nope, different Brian...this one's from the far north!

 

Brian, add fibromyalgia, Lyme's disease, and a family history of corporal tunnel syndrome to my steady diet of fly/spinning/conventional casting....and what I've found....you have to fish through the pain! wink.gif Actually, MikeF is correct as far as my experience goes, the very fast rods coupled with lines at the lower end of what the rod will handle will not only aggravate your elbow, but cause you casting fits being that you're somewhat new to FFishing. If you're still having trouble with the elbow and you're still longing to get the casting just right...try a heavier line on the same stick. If it's a 9wt, try an 11wt shooting head...or a fat 10wt line on the same rod. It will require less of you and allow the rod to do more of the work. DJ's also onto something, in FFishing, as you (most folks) begin to tire, you will start to swing more and cast less...possibly rotating more than just your wrist, I've seen guys casting and apparently using their turning hips to cast with! I guess thier arms get so tired, they hold the arm more stationary and actually turn at the hip to move thier rods..not a good idea!

 

BTW, I like the thumb on the side for the most part, it's just where it ends up..I used to fight it and put it on the cork pointing to the tip...now I let it go where it wants...for the most part. Try to forget that your wrist is even able to turn, let the double hauling of your line hand do any work your rods not doing...when you get in the groove, it'll feel effortless, a thing of beauty...

 

Get better, it's gonna be some year! cool.gif

 

TimS

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I have to comment on this one. I have some pretty bad problems with my right elbow as well, however it is Bursitis, rather than tennis elbow. I dealt with a lot of pain last spring. Even just lifting a spinning rod was agonizing. If not for rest and some aggressive anti inflamatories, I would still be out of action. I tried a brace, and al that did was aggrivate it. Luckily for me I did get better, and now all I have to worry bout is stubbing my toes, cutting my feet, and falling off jetties. wink.gif Tim can certainly attest to that one.

 

--Geoff

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Interesting set of replies - and ailments.

The STS gets a rest, and so does the wrist.

Then I'll play with the weights. .... needed an excuse to play more with the GS 525 anyhow.

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I got "Tennis elbow" or "Bunker Elbow" as I call it now. It was my first year of snagging bunker and my friends and I were snagging bunker left and right. We were going to keep them fresh so when the blues came in, we could throw chunks underneath to get the cows. Anyways, I was out for a week and I simply said "Screw it" and I went on fishing with my arm damaged.

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Allow me to offer a bit of advice. I used to be a serious weight lifter ( before life interfered) so I know a little bit about soft tissue injuries. If you truly have tendonitis and it has been hanging around for 2 months, I would see a doctor and get on some type of anti-inflamatory medication. If it is truly tendonitis, the only way to make it go away is to rest it. A brace is great if you are playing competitive sports and your next pay day depends upon you playing, but it will not solve the problem. After a prescribed period of rest, I would recomend a regimen of light standing or seated dumbell curls. I would not use a barbell, because dumbells offer an increased range of motion. Keep your reps at 20-25. The object is to strenghthen both the biceps and the tendons as the tendons are the weak link.

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Yeah, we have it in the UK too! It got me after I started backcasting with a fixed-spool reel, not the casting, the winding in!

I had ultra-sound twice a week for a month then once a week for a month, wore a brace to keep the tendon on the bone when exercising and it went away. But still comes back now and then. Hang on in there - BB

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At one time I tried to build houses for a living, big mistake. Swinging that 22 oz. framing hammer and lugging that pneumatic nailer gave me a horrible case of tendonitis. The pain was terrible, straps didn't do squat.

You can rest it for 4 months or do what I did, get a steroid shot.

The ex Phillie Steve Carlton used to roll two big steel balls, slightly smaller than golf balls around in his fingers. A low impact way to strengten the grip and condition himself against tendonitis. It's stress from gripping that causes it, not arm motion. Hence the common incidence among tennis players, FFers, house framers, etc. Their activity places a lot of stress on the tendons from gripping.

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This is what makes the board so well worth trolling; the intelligent and informed voice of experience, lots of it. The injury maybe didn't heal, or maybe I reinvented it. As noted by one poster, rest matters a lot, so that's what I'll do. And put down the STS 9510 for the Orvis 9 (an HLS, a moderate action blank) when I do start casting again.

The compulsion to flycast won't really be bugging me until April/May anyway.

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Brian> I see that you have a Scott STS. I almost bought a SAS (if the L.L.Bean Quest rod fails to deliver then it back to the SAS). While I was at the shop I tried the STS. WOW! What a rod. I was wondering if you have compared it to any other super fast rods? Guess you can tell that I am still thinking about a Scott.

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