“I have a tennis elbow, can I still ski?”
As the temperature outside begins to drop and the snow begins to blow, you are probably thinking about winter activities. With reports of new snow in the forecast, as you wax your skis, you might be wondering if you should be skiing after being diagnosed with tennis elbow.
There is no simple answer to the question, as it depends on the severity of your condition. It is helpful to speak in terms of pain levels to determine the severity of your symptoms. From zero to ten, 0 means no pain and 10 is such a high pain level that you need to go to the emergency room.
If your pain while resting is 3 or 4, but still increases with activity, it is best for you to rest and rehabilitate your arm. Skiing would likely make your condition worse. You should consider hand therapy to help you recover. If you have 0 pain at rest, and most of the day, but your pain goes up to 2 with use of the arm, you may consider skiing if you follow some of the following tips.
Let’s talk about your ski poles first. Use both! It might seem like a good idea to ski with a single pole on the uninjured side, but it is generally not recommended. This can upset your balance and cause overuse injury to your unharmed side. So use both poles and keep the following suggestions in mind. Ski poles should be the correct length for your height. You should be able to grip your poles with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. If your poles are too short or too long, it puts more pressure on your elbow. Make sure to use the strap of your ski pole. It allows you to generate power from your arms with less force through your grip, which decreases the strain on your elbow. Also, the lighter the stick, the better. When skiing, keep your grip light on your poles. While you cannot control the skiing conditions, it is certainly more shocking for your arms to ski in icy, compact conditions than in soft snow.
Ski smart and try to minimize poling as much as you can. Try to ski as close to the chairlift as possible. When you need the pole, try doing shorter arm strokes, keeping your elbows close to your body, as opposed to long arm strokes with your arms fully extended in front of you. Skate with your legs when you can is great for core strength and minimizes use of the arms.
Before and after skiing, do some forearm stretches. If you are using a forearm strap, wear it when skiing. If your pain level increases at the end of your ski day, use a cold compress for about 8 minutes several times throughout the evening.
At the start of the season, plan to take several breaks during the day. Consider skiing for half a day and see how your arm feels. Remember to dress for the conditions and stay warm, especially your hands and arms when you have a tennis elbow.
Listen to your body and have fun!
Source by Kathleen Papi-Baker