Elbows & Paddling: a guide to overcoming tendon tears and tendinopothy

Taking roughly 70 strokes per minute, for about 60-80 minutes per session, day after day, week after week, sure adds up fast!

Over-use injuries plague our sport, especially elbows, writs and shoulders. Having had my fair share of troubles, I'd love to share how I overcame my last big hurdle... a torn elbow tendon.


Last year I was struggling with a really tight lower back, which was restricting my rotation to the left.  I think I overcompensated with a much longer stroke on the RHS, adding to my imbalance. This was easily spotted once I checked my stroke symmetry on my Motionize unit. 

The body is an intersteing dynamic, and it struggled to put together a powerful stroke at all costs. The adaptation and work around it came up with eventually cracked the weakest part of the chain, and I got a bit of pain in my wrist, and eventually it moved into my elbow.

Now having been down the tendinopothy route before, wich ended up in surgery to reconstruct tendons and remove a trapped nerve, which nearly ended my paddling career, I didn't want to end up in that same boat!

Unortunately the stubborness and ability to work through pain that helps put us at the top of the leaderboard, is the same trait that gets us into trouble with injyies. Recognizing this, I pushed through until Rio, and then took a long break (ended up being nearly 6 months). The initial break did nothing for my "tennis" elbow, and I then started down the path of rehabiliation.

What you need to do

Firstly you should get an accurate diagnosis. I ended up seeing a phsyio for almost 3 weeks with no change in pain, so we went and got a scan done, and identified a mssive tear in my elbow extensor tendon..

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