Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tricep pain continued

Around a week ago, I self-diagnosed an annoying elbow condition as 'golfer's elbow', or medial epicondoloytis. I purchased an arm strap for a mere £2.99 on Amazon, which takes the load off during sports and seems to be having a beneficial/protective effect.

However, further investigations (poking of the tendons connecting the triceps to the elbow) suggest the condition may be golfer's elbow but it could also be mild triceps tendinitis along with a case of dislocation of the ulnar nerve, which creates a mild fuzzy feeling of the 'funny bone' being knocked and makes plank exercises impossible to perform due to to the weight placed on this part of the arm.

I will be doing as many of the below stretching/strengthening exercises as possible to provide maximum benefit. Rehab exercises (includes those mentioned in the earlier post):

- Yoga position placing bodweight on forearms (mentioned previously)
- Wrist active range of motion: Flexion and extension (2 x 15)
- Wrist stretch (wrist up: 3 x 15-30 seconds, repeat with wrist down)
- Forearm pronation and supination (2 x 15)
- Eccentric wrist flexion (3 x 15)
- Eccentric wrist extension (3 x 15)
- Grip strengthening - squeezing ball for 5 seconds (2 x 15)
- Forearm pronation and supination strengthening (2 x 15)
- Resisted elbow flexion and extension (2 x 15)

Some new additions:
- Use a tennis ball against the wall to massage the arms, focusing on the knotted area
- Practice an eccentric negative pull-down exercise using the cable: adopt the stance of one-arm tricep pull down with horseshoe grip. Have the elbow tucked in and arm out at 90 degrees, and palm down. Use your good hand to draw the cable down to the straight arm position, and then use the bad arm to slowly control the release back up to the 90 degree position. Note, as light weights are used I imagine you could get a fair chunk of the benefit by simple using the good hand to act as a cable, providing some counterforce that is pulling the hand up.

General recovery approach:
- Rest from the weights section of the gym for a couple of weeks
- Go back to the gym with light exercise sessions, starting with 20% volume and building up gradually
- Observe all exercises that play havoc with the tricep and elbows and eliminate these completely. This list will sadly include tricep station dips, overhead tricep extensions, skill crushers and possibly even press-ups. Try the painful exercises with wide grips before assigning them to the grave! The key is not to aggravate any pain, which could easily lead to chronic degeneration.
- Observe the ulnar nerve instability when the arm bends past 90 degrees, which is when the nerve is at its most stretched and rubs or slips against the elbow bone. I can actually see this happening when I look in the mirror which is a bit disconcerting. Visit the doctor if concerned. (I'm pretty sure this has always been there). When this condition is really bad, people have ultrasounds and MRIs, and often have surgery relocating the nerve.

I'm fairly positive that these measures will give me a good chance at a quick-ish recovery. One of the key aims of going to the gym is for health benefit reasons, not to bust myself up (although going hard is enjoyable at times), so it would be a stupid thing indeed if I just worked 'through the pain' and ended up with a serious injury!

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