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Player to Player: Dealing with Tennis Elbow

Real Tennis Players - Like You! -  Asking For, and Offering, Advice on the Sport They Love

Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.



This week's question from Meaghan:

I am a 14 year old who will be graduating eighth grade and moving to high school soon. I really want to make the junior varsity tennis team, and I was wondering what the typical high school player's skill level is. What do I need to have to make the team? I started tennis about a year ago, and I have been playing 3x a week or so. I can serve about 55 mph, and I hit topspin on my forehand and backhand. I have played matches, but I am not a great player for my age. I was just wondering the typical requirements for a high school player.

Please share your advice with Meaghan by e-mailing Player@USTA.com and include your name and hometown.

Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!


Last week's question from Amy
(Please note: There's no need to send additional responses to this question) 

My orthopedic is recommending the topaz surgery for my tennis elbow. Has anyone undergone this procedure, and was it successful? Thanks.

Player Responses:

From Coach Poppie, Palm Bay, FL:

First, are you sure? Always get a second opinion. Is he the best surgeon for this? Check around your area,even 50 miles away. Just get the right surgeon for you and your needs. Confidence going in helps the recovery. After the surgery comes rehab. This is where it gets tricky. Find a PT who will work with you, not just put you on a machine or exercise program and periodically check on you. It only took me 5 years to find one that specialized in tennis-related recovery, and here's the big word -- "functional" recovery. Some task you to MMI maximum medical improvement. That doesn't mean you can play. You want a PT who will go the course until you can play, even if it means learning to play with your other hand. This, too, required proper PT with realign your balance system and muscular structure. Most important is this -- do not do it yourself. Follow the orders prescribed and BE PATIENT.
Hope all goes well. 

From Craig:

I am not a doctor but a teaching professional. Lately, I recommend to anyone with severe tennis elbow to see about a new procedure, Regenerative Injection Therapy.  It sounded quacky when I first heard about it, but I know two people who came back from acute, chronic tennis elbow. It has been written about by Jane Brody and in other articles in The New York Times. It is worth a shot before any thought of surgery if the problem is inflammation or tissue issues.

From Eric, Santa Rosa, CA:

Yes, this newest surgical approach called Topaz is a better alternative to old-style major surgery, as it is an arthroscopy and less invasive. BUT, all surgery can be problematic. The only minor surgery happens to someone you do not know. It is never minor or easy or a sure thing otherwise...

SO... Try all the standard, conservative non-surgical approaches to lateral epicondylitis first. Do the exercises religiously. Confer with professionals on the strength and stretching involved, as well as the frequency, duration and rest intervals. Dr. James Glick, an ortho dr. in SF, wrote an article in Tennis magazine to get some ideas on this approach.

From Frank, Spring Hill, FL:

Have you and your doctor checked out the Flexbar? The New York Times had an interesting article on this see: ttp://tinyurl.com/y9bezhe.

From the article:

"Researchers from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City announced last month that they’ve developed an effective and supremely cheap treatment for chronic tennis elbow.”

Before surgery, you owe it to yourself to check this out. Good luck.
From Mark:

I would recommend that or platelet injection. I do both for my patients in the plantar fascia and achilles tendon with great success rates.

From Ken, Highland Park, IL:

It has been 5 months -- physical therapy, icing, a cortisone shot. I got an MRI, and it’s not pretty. Talked to my orthopedic doctor, Richard Sherman, a fine doc. It’s the last resort, but I turned 35 and wanted to play 35-and-up events. I was playing great, needed to get in better shape, and the elbow went. I can't lift a coffee cup without serious pain. So I pray this surgery works and it heals and I can play and teach tennis again. I really miss the game. It is my mental release; it is my pride. So try a cortisone shot, and therapy, and the new tape, but, as in my case, I need this surgery. This isn't a very serious surgery. I am going to get strong and get back on the court being the best I can be and offering the best advice as a coach I can. I really love the sport of tennis.

*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.

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