New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Elbow pain when planting poles

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
As my season has progressed (and the frequency of my days on snow increased) my elbows are now killing me when I plant my poles. I mostly ski moguls and I think I have just overstressed my elbows to the point that they both feel like I have "tennis" elbows. They don't hurt during normal daily activity and I can still do pushups/bench press type moves without any real pain. However I can't play racquetball (the whipping motion in that swing kills me).

Anyone have any ideas on how I might avoid further injuring my elbows in the future? I expect to hear some things about balance problems, but it really doesn't feel like I'm out of balance when I'm skiing moguls - I guess I just plant my poles really hard on the crest of each mogul. I tried backing off a bit on my plants when I was out on Wednesday, but it really felt odd and screwed up my rhythm. Would Allsop shock absorber poles (if I can find some) help? Thanks in advance for any advice.
post #2 of 25
My first thought is to ask if you are using the correct pole length. My second question is the one I always hate to ask: Do you have a history of arthritis in your family?
post #3 of 25
I used to get the same pain from pole plants. Just keep working on lightening the amount of pressure you put on the pole each time. Any hand/arm change will screw up your skis at first, but as you work on making the pole plant more of a touch, you will find that you improve your activity with your skis. This ain't a change you can make overnight. I was still getting an occasional elbow jamb a couple seasons after I actively started trying to take that pressure off.
post #4 of 25
The pain known as "tennis elbow" or Epicondylitis can be caused by lots of different stresses. I had a really persistent case of it from cutting and splitting wood, and swinging a framing hammer. Planting a rigid ski pole at speed causes the same jarring effect. Think about the biomechanics of a pole plant. The wrist is in tension, the extensor muscles contract to bring the pole in contact with the snow, the sudden shock is transmitted back to the elbow. This is repeated hundreds of times in a day. Classic tennis elbow, but caused by skiing. BTW, if you work at a computer on a desk job, the stress of keeping your arm bent and typing and using a mouse.seems to really aggrevate this injury. This is a common repetitive stress injury in carpenters, meat cutters, musicians, pitchers and golfers as well.

You may be able to reduce the stress by technique and equipment modifications. Carbon poles would transmit less shock, as would shock absorber poles. The problem is, the injury is a chronic inflammation of the tendons, and the cure is rest (abstaining::. It is unlikely that you will fully recover, until you take the time away from the activity that caused the injury. But summer is on the way. Meanwhile, there are elastic wraps that go around the arm just above the elbow that seem to provide a lot of relief by holding the arm (tendons) in compression.

I definitely recommend you look at more flexible carbon or shock-absorbing poles. See a sports med doctor for other ideas and treatments including cortisteroid injections. You can find a lot more technical references by searching epicondylitis on the internet.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm 5' 7" and have both 50" and 48" poles. I purposely picked up the shorter poles after reading some threads regarding the "move" to shorter poles since the introduction of shape skis.

I'm 38 so I sure hope this isn't arthritis! But I guess it's worth a question when I visit the doc.

Cirquerider - you sure seem to know what you're talking about and seem to have nailed it right on. How did you know that I work on a computer all day long?!!! I'll definitely consider moving to carbon poles (both sets of mine are aluminum) and look into the wraps. I used to play tennis quite a bit and I remember using one of those wraps/braces.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler
How did you know that I work on a computer all day long?!!!
I didn't have a clue, but I know when I had the condition, my arm was especially sore after a long stint at the desk. I also dabble in industrial hygiene. This will eventually go away on its own if you modify the equipment and give the arm rest. Ibuprofin seems to help with the inflammation/pain. Don't take this as medical advice, just experience.

Ask for a chair with arm rests at work. You should be able to support your elbows on the armrests, and have the keyboard at a height that keeps your arms level. This should be an acceptable accomodation for your injury if you company has any knowlege of ergonomics.
post #7 of 25
I know I'm throwing a match into the fireworks factory... but why are you actually planting poles at all? I know a bunch of people here claim you need to use poles to ski bumps. I'm not buying it. The best instructors I know of feel poles are extraneous for most skiing (but not for lift lines ). Or at most are a tool for tricking your body to do the right thing in bumps and a few other places - but only with the lightest of touches. Not plants.

As for claims you need the pole plant - I was doing laps on a moderate bump field at DV a month or two ago (I'm not that hot in bumps and really needed the practice..) and was blown away when two fairly advanced classed came through. One was std alpine. The other tele. Not a pole in sight. No one in either class had any poles. No exceptions. The classes each followed their instructors into and through the bumps. They moved like liquid. No hesitation. No spinouts. No spills. No major traversing. They probably accounted for 9 out of the top ten runs I saw in half a day of skiing that section of the resort. Maybe 10 out of the top ten.

I suspect learning to skip real "plants" is at least as important (or maybe more important ) than tweaking pole length.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift
I know I'm throwing a match into the fireworks factory... but why are you actually planting poles at all?
BOOM!!! All I can say is that I have taken the Mary Jane Bump Jamboree clinics and the Copper Mountain Bump Busters lessons. Every teacher I have had has stressed the importance of the pole plant and further went through drills to develop effective pole plants. I will agree that it is possible to ski moguls without pole plants, but in the really hairy steep icy moguls I personally need pole plants to smoothly navigate the terrain.

Now back to the issue at hand... There are quite a few threads about determining the proper pole length, but I didn't see anything about whether the length should be determined with ski gear on (boots, bindings, lifters, and skis all add to your "effective" height) or with street shoes. I would think it should be based on your height above the snow when geared up. In that case a 50" pole grabbed below the basket leaves my forearm below parallel to the slope. With my 48" poles I tend to miss pole plants now and then! I'm bringing this up so that I know what length to buy when purchasing new carbon fiber poles.
post #9 of 25
How about the Goode's that you can adjust to varying lengths by loosening the handle screw? Then you can play with length to find what works best for you.
post #10 of 25
I don't know about the other issues, but I have both carbon and aluminum poles and carbon poles definitely ease the impact of pole plants.

If I am on very packed powder or ice, the difference is dramatic.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
The pain known as "tennis elbow" or Epicondylitis can be caused by lots of different stresses. I had a really persistent case of it from cutting and splitting wood, and swinging a framing hammer. Planting a rigid ski pole at speed causes the same jarring effect. Think about the biomechanics of a pole plant. The wrist is in tension, the extensor muscles contract to bring the pole in contact with the snow, the sudden shock is transmitted back to the elbow. This is repeated hundreds of times in a day. Classic tennis elbow, but caused by skiing. BTW, if you work at a computer on a desk job, the stress of keeping your arm bent and typing and using a mouse.seems to really aggrevate this injury. This is a common repetitive stress injury in carpenters, meat cutters, musicians, pitchers and golfers as well.

You may be able to reduce the stress by technique and equipment modifications. Carbon poles would transmit less shock, as would shock absorber poles. The problem is, the injury is a chronic inflammation of the tendons, and the cure is rest (abstaining::. It is unlikely that you will fully recover, until you take the time away from the activity that caused the injury. But summer is on the way. Meanwhile, there are elastic wraps that go around the arm just above the elbow that seem to provide a lot of relief by holding the arm (tendons) in compression.

I definitely recommend you look at more flexible carbon or shock-absorbing poles. See a sports med doctor for other ideas and treatments including cortisteroid injections. You can find a lot more technical references by searching epicondylitis on the internet.
I am heavy duty tennis player, golfer and work at a computer all day/ and a play electric guitar in a blues band, all activities with the bent arm described here ....I have it too/ the elbow pain...huge..( I am 50) I switched to a leki vision pole from the leki aluminum world cup and it helped a lot....I ice and rest....use a gel pack on both elbows while I watch tv....cirquerider great post, I will further review some of your comments...thanks a million!!
post #12 of 25
Goode carbons here too. They reduce a tremdous amount of shock. Also at 5'7" go shorter than 48". I am 5'10" and I am using a 47".
post #13 of 25
I used Allsop shock absorber poles for years. every time I tried to give them up and use a pole without the spring ion the grip, they were awful and all that shock came right up my arms.

When they quit making the Allsop & my finally broke I switched to a Scott racing GS pole with a bend in it. The bend takes most if no all the shock out and they are very lightweight. I really like the newer Scoot Velcro adjstable strap & grip. I have it on my GS & Slalom poles. Not as spendy as Carbon either.

Try the GS poles with the bend!
post #14 of 25
interesting thread. I've had lots of experience w RSIs, mostly related to computer use, incl. a couple of OSHA workers comp claims that led to lots of ergonomic mods & PT work. For elbow inflammation, along with the requisite ice/rest/ibuprofen [take the ibu regularly for 2 wks to allow healing to proceed], I used to wear a compression band just *below* the elbow. It's supposed to foreshorten the tendons & decrease the irritation; it seemed to help. And I imagine you could wear it while skiing, too.

BTW, my problems have really been helped by a couple of wacky-looking ergonomic keyboards, incl. the split Comfort Keyboard >> http://ergopages.com/keyboards.html?gk9-1

Good luck!
post #15 of 25
pdxski is right about wearing the band below the elbow. Its been a while for me, but it provides immediate relief. I had this thought after I posted, but couldn't recall. A slight bend in the pole near the handle to allow the pole to extend forward without cocking the wrist would also help by allowing more shock to be taken up in the wrist rather than higher on the arm. Enjoy those carbon poles! Maybe write it off as a medical expense
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I've found a huge selection of "tennis elbow" wraps and was wondering if anyone had any brand/model recommendations. Looks like I'm also going to pick up some Goode composite poles and hope for someone to eBay some Allsops so I can snag the grips.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I've found a huge selection of "tennis elbow" wraps and was wondering if anyone had any brand/model recommendations.
The band I used to wear was tubular, about a finger's width in diameter, with a velcro closure. I doubt if the brand matters much. I like my carbon poles, too
post #18 of 25
Pick up a pair of Goode carbon grapjite poles, not the cheaper models, but the 9303 model. The poles will absorb a lot of the shock that is being transmitted into wrist and elbows.

I suffered wrist pain and had to wear a brace. But stopped wearing the brace after using the Goode poles over 5 years ago.

Pwdrski
post #19 of 25

I have had tendonitis in both elbows for the last two years...I have been skiing 45 to 55 days in the last two seasons.  Coincidence..probably not.  I have never experienced this in prior seasons.  In the same time frame,  I purchased the Leki poles with the quick release system that attaches the pole to a strap on your glove.   I wonder if this system is harder on your elbows than using a conventional ski pole strap?

post #20 of 25
To heal this, prp injecting work, and shock wave treatments also.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Ponder View Post
 

I have had tendonitis in both elbows for the last two years...I have been skiing 45 to 55 days in the last two seasons.  Coincidence..probably not.  I have never experienced this in prior seasons.  In the same time frame,  I purchased the Leki poles with the quick release system that attaches the pole to a strap on your glove.   I wonder if this system is harder on your elbows than using a conventional ski pole strap?

 

If you have not change the terrain you generally ski, then check the effective length of the Leki pole vs your old pole. Effective length = the length of the pole beneath the heel of your palm under load during the pole plant. 

 

The strap on the old poles may allow a bit of hand travel under load while the Leki is a firm connect at the top of the pole. The hand travel with the strap poles may make the effective length of the poles an inch or two shorter. The give on the leki system also depends on the fit of the glove.  

 

BTW, good resurrection. Almost 11-1/2 years, good but not quite record. :D 

post #22 of 25

I have a similar probelm

post #23 of 25
Drag, touch, tap don't plant smile.gif
post #24 of 25
An excellent exercise using a very inexpensive resistance wand was referenced in a N.Y. Times article a few years back, which I will link below. The exercise was published in a peer reviewed PT journal. First, we need to figure out which side of the elbow hurts: lateral vs medial. With the palm of the hand facing the ceiling, the thumb side of the elbow is lateral. The pinky side is medial. Classic "Tennis Elbow " is called lateral epicondylitis. "Golfer's Elbow " is called medial epicondylitis. The exercise in the N.Y. Times article addresses lateral epicondylitis, Tennis Elbow. I had a problem with medial epicondylitis so I had to figure out a mirror image modification of the exercise to work. A problem that had plagued me for years got fixed in about 6 weeks. Seriously. Highly recommended. Check it out.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/phys-ed-an-easy-fix-for-tennis-elbow/?_r=0
post #25 of 25

a) learn to plant more gently--not always possible when things get very steep

b) forearm bands--the kind that are used to treat tennis elbow. Cheap, simple, effective.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: