Elbow Tendinitis Plan

By Greg Finch


Tendinitis can be anywhere from a small annoyance to a chronic condition that negatively impacts both large and small movement. A compounding factor is it's often not debilitating. It can just become part of what we manage without actually giving it the attention it needs to recover effectively.

Over the last several months I've dealt with various degrees of elbow tendinitis and in the first few weeks I was guilty of this ignoring. But as it lingered I developed a program that I have been following. It's not completely recovered but it's certainly much better. I wanted to share that with anyone dealing with similar pain.

I broke it down into three categories. This structure is handy for analyzing most movement patterns.

  1. Movement Preparation
  2. Awareness During Movement
  3. Recovery

1. Movement Preparation

What movement am I about to do. Surf, strength training, lengthy computer work? While heavy use can certainly impact tendinitis you also need to be fully aware of the impact of small repetitive movement like typing on a keyboard or moving a mouse.

For surfing, strength training, or heavy extended use of the elbow I complete our Surf RAMP and/or the Shoulder Mobility Program.

Before computer work or extended dexterity work like assembling furniture (Kitchen / living room remodel has me doing that often these days) I complete some light weight bicep curls and shoulder press (less than 10 lbs each arm) to get some blood flow. Then a shortened version of the shoulder program to focus on mobility. I also give special attention to mobilizing the forearm extensor and flexor muscles with the exercises below.

2. Awareness During Movement

We have to function in our day but basic awareness can go a long way to minimizing the impact and overuse on your elbow.

The first thing to stay aware of is forearm positioning while lifting. Look again at the two exercise above. 1 with the palm facing up the other facing down. Whenever possible lift with your palm facing up. This will make sure that the bicep, tricep, and shoulder muscles are engaged and the primary strength for the lifting.

Whenever your palm is face down and attempting to grip or lift the impact to the insertion point of the tendons in your elbow are directly impacted and irritation can increase quickly and significantly.

Avoid overuse whenever possible. Can the remaining work you have to do on that kitchen cabinet wait until tomorrow? Did you get a solid wave count and it would be wise to go in before you really fatigue your shoulder and arm strength?

Check in with your body thoroughly and often and give it the care it needs to be there for you when you need it (Surf is firing anyone?)

3. Recovery

I complete again the Shoulder Program, the three mobilizers above in the prep section and then move onto the M.E.T.H Protocol to do all I can to reduce inflammation and irritation before it can accelerate.

My stamina and paddling are really improved and that allows me to surf longer and stronger

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I've noticed a big difference in really two main things. One is my pre-surf warm up gets my body loose and ready to surf. I feel like I'm not step-tripping over to myself as much. Doing those dumb falls that just waste a bunch of waves.

Second my stamina and paddling are really improved and that allows me to surf longer and stronger.

Josh Beckett - Winemaker

My Surfing Has Improved On So Many Levels

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My surfing has improved on so many different levels working with Greg. I have developed much more confidence in the water. I feel more comfortable & strong out there. I can paddle longer, pop-up faster, and turn with more power.

Heather Miller - Acupuncturist for WSL

Those aches & pains after a sesh aren't there anymore

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It really gave me direction of what to do to get my body feeling better. Some of those aches and pains I would get after a sesh aren't there anymore. I could see my body becoming much more reliable for me because of the exercises and techniques that were taught.

The personal service was awesome! Greg was very knowledgeable and easy to reach whenever. If I ever had a question he was there to help quickly.

Scott Williams

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