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Celestial
January 19th, 2011, 12:41 PM
I have finally come to the conclusion (after 15 months) that perhaps I should actually stay out of the water for a while to allow my poor elbows to heal. I have had "golfers elbow" ever since Nov 4, 2009, when I very stupidly tried to race a highschooler during a sculling set. Not a day goes by that I am not in pain, despite two cortisone shots in each elbow (man, those hurt!) lots of stretching, and countless number of celebrex pills down the throat. I've tried Icy Hot, Bio Freeze, Accupuncture, etc. So for the question: if I take 3-4 weeks off to heal (assuming I actually do heal) and only do kicking during that time, how long do you think it will take me to be back to "normal" (or where I am now) again? Today, despite pain, I went 4200 LCM in about 75-80 minutes (check my flog if you want the workout) and I sincerely intend to compete at the LC nationals in August.

smontanaro
January 19th, 2011, 12:56 PM
I took all of last summer off with tendinitis in my shoulder. What does your doctor recommend about the cause of your elbow pain and how much rest you should take? I'd start there.

matysekj
January 19th, 2011, 01:07 PM
From personal experience with my elbows (both ended up with surgical repairs) and since you've gone so long with the problem, I'd recommend not swimming a single stroke again until they heal. Kick, kick, and more kick is okay as long as you don't blow out your knees, but avoid pulling with your arms at all costs. You may already be too far gone to avoid the knife.

I stuck with kicking only for 4-5 months, then got the cortisone shot and swam again. Six months later was my first surgery. The surgeon said afterward that it was so far gone that there's no way it would have healed on its own. The tendon was barely attached at both 'ends' of the medial epicondyl, and everything in between was jelly-like.

That was all 9+ years ago. The worst of the two arms has been fine since recovering from the surgery. The other one still comes back to bother me a little on occasion (like now), but I don't think the surgeon did as extensive a repair on that one because it wasn't as bad. My freestyle has never recovered - my best 500 post-surgery is 20 seconds slower than what I did the year it went bad. I fear those subtle stroke changes to avoid the pain are permanent.

PM or email me for more details if you want.

Glider
January 19th, 2011, 02:17 PM
Wow, interesting timing as I sit here with my right medial elbow packed in ice. After shoveling out of the Atlanta snow, I now have a good case of golfer's elbow. Been through this before with both elbows, medially and laterally (tennis elbow.)

I've swum and lifted through it each time, including once with a cortisone shot (the effect lasted three days.) At one point I had tennis elbow in one and golfers elbow in the other...

My approach was ice, special stretching exercises, and the Futuro Sport Tennis Elbow Support (http://www.futuro-usa.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Futuro/Global/Products/Catalog/?PC_7_RJH9U5230GN080ICTTIVBG2092_nid=L2KGS08THJgsF GGDM4VL1LglKVWVNQHSZ5bl), which I wore in and out of the water.

My opinion is that this brace allowed me to minimize the pain (which would mostly go away after warm-up) and limit stress on the tendon so I could continue swimming without worsening the injury. Full recovery only came after several weeks of complete rest.

ymmv

Mark


From personal experience with my elbows (both ended up with surgical repairs) and since you've gone so long with the problem, I'd recommend not swimming a single stroke again until they heal. Kick, kick, and more kick is okay as long as you don't blow out your knees, but avoid pulling with your arms at all costs. You may already be too far gone to avoid the knife.

I stuck with kicking only for 4-5 months, then got the cortisone shot and swam again. Six months later was my first surgery. The surgeon said afterward that it was so far gone that there's no way it would have healed on its own. The tendon was barely attached at both 'ends' of the medial epicondyl, and everything in between was jelly-like.

That was all 9+ years ago. The worst of the two arms has been fine since recovering from the surgery. The other one still comes back to bother me a little on occasion (like now), but I don't think the surgeon did as extensive a repair on that one because it wasn't as bad. My freestyle has never recovered - my best 500 post-surgery is 20 seconds slower than what I did the year it went bad. I fear those subtle stroke changes to avoid the pain are permanent.

PM or email me for more details if you want.

andremi
January 25th, 2011, 03:08 PM
Last week I have got a strong elbow pain in one arm after fast butterfly set to the point that I had to skip the next day swim (I try to swim every day around 3500 yards or so) and did mostly kick-board swimming next-next day as the pain would gradually return after even slow swimming.

After googling and reading up on it I found this article that talks about healing elbow pain by doing “eccentric” (where muscle lengthens as it tenses) exercises with a special bar
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/phys-ed-an-easy-fix-for-tennis-elbow

I haven't purchased the bar but I have tried very similar exercise with a regular piece of rubber band pictured here
YouTube - Tennis Elbow Strengthening Exercises Total Tendon.com

I am happy to see huge improvement in elbow pain – yesterday I was able to do my regular swim routine (without butterfly) after doing the exercises 2 days ago.

After the regular swim yesterday the pain came back a bit (I think I get the idea what part of move is causing it and will learn a bit more today), but I did another set of these exercises yesterday and today and I can definitely see the improvement.

If you try to do these exercises, note that they are for “tennis elbow pain” where the pain comes from externally facing part of the arm. For “golfer elbow pain” you need to do exercises in reverse.
(i.e. as pictured here YouTube - Thera-Band FlexBar "Reverse Tyler Twist" for Golfers Elbow)

Your injury sounds more extensive, but hope these exercises help!

– Andrey

Celestial
January 26th, 2011, 09:48 PM
Wow, Audrey - thanks bunches!! I will look into these sites immediately! After having taken almost a complete week off, and not seeing any improvement in pain, and not relishing the idea of surgery for my "golfers" elbow (who has time for golf?) I am game for anything that might help! :) I found a site that I've been using YouTube - Epicondylitis Tennis Elbow Pain / Tennis Elbow Treatment & Exercises
and now-a-days I've also been putting kinesio tape on my arm - I have modified the taping somewhat to suit my own pain. You can get kinesio tape at Sports Authority, or wherever your sporting goods are sold. Good luck to you also!

Bobinator
January 26th, 2011, 10:50 PM
I wonder if that PRP therapy could help you? Contact The Fortress on the blogs. She had this treatment for a torn labrum and swears by it.

Celestial
January 27th, 2011, 08:19 AM
So Mr.Bobinator - is PRP the same as Prolo Therapy? I might ask my ortho about that - but best news of all - I tried the exercises on the site I listed in my most recent post, and voila! this morning I was virtually pain free!! Of course this could just be a coincidence & might be in part due to the Arthrotec & Celebrex that I've been taking for months now, but I think not. . .
Thanks to all of you for your very helpful advice!
~Celeste~

andremi
January 27th, 2011, 01:42 PM
It's amazing how much little exercises can do – glad you're feeling better Celeste! Thank you for the kinesio tape suggestion, I'll look into it.

Also I found that for me doing these exercises to the point of muscle failure seem to work better then just doing the same exercises “lightly.” So I would do a set of 15 reps 3-4 times a day. I would adjust the rubber band strength where on every repetition I could slowly extend the wrist for 15-20 seconds and on the last repetition the muscle would pretty much give up.

The swimming definitely adds a bit of pain back – before swimming I am mostly pain free but after swimming I do feel it a bit. But with this pain reduction rate I hope I will be completely pain free next or next-next week.

– Andrey