Avoiding Triceps Tendinopathy
Tendons are the long thin tendons that connect muscles to bones. They’re found all over your body, but they’re most commonly found in your shoulders and arms.
When these tendons become inflamed or damaged, it causes pain in the area where they attach to the bone. That’s why some people with shoulder problems develop chronic shoulder pains that don’t go away even after other treatments have failed.
The problem is that there isn’t just one cause of tendinosis. There are many different kinds of tendinosis, so it’s hard to say what exactly causes them.
Some researchers think that certain strains of arthritis may trigger the condition, while others believe that genetics play a role in causing the condition. Still others think that stress from repetitive physical activity may lead to inflammation in the tissue around the muscle fibers themselves.
Whatever the exact cause, there are several things you can do to prevent tendinosis:
Wear protective equipment like a bandage wrapped around your arm. If you wear gloves, make sure they cover both hands.
Don’t use your bare hand; keep it covered with a bandage. Wearing a sleeve will protect your elbow joint and forearm from injury. Wear compression stockings underneath the clothing to reduce strain on the muscles in those areas.
Take time to warm up or cool down before and after your activity. Slowly stretching your arm muscles will allow them to reach their peak performance and slowly lower back down to their original positions.
For the first few sessions, make sure that you begin with easier exercises first before attempting the harder ones.
Assuming that your activities involve using your arms a lot, don’t do any more than 3 hours worth of activity without giving it a break. You may not need as much of a break if you’re only doing light activity, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t overwork the area. This means that if you start feeling pain or tingling sensations, then you need to stop what you’re doing and give your body a rest.
Your body will let you know when it’s had enough.
If you’re ever experiencing pain that lasts for more than two days then you should see a doctor. You may have cause serious damage to the tendons, muscles or other parts of your arms and need medical attention right away.
You might even need to rest from the activity so that your body can heal itself and reduce the inflammation in the area.
It’s important to remember that tendinosis is a slow, degenerative process. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t go away overnight.
You need to be patient and give your body time to heal if you want to prevent future injury.
Tricep Stretches For Throwing
If you’ve ever suffered from sore triceps you’ll know it makes it almost impossible to throw.
The top part of the tricep muscle attaches to the back of your arm and when it’s in spasm it feels like a solid knot right under the skin.
You’ve got two choices, either you suffer with the pain and try to throw through it (not recommended), or you do some simple stretching to help relieve the tension and then completely rest the arm until the pain goes away.
However, it’s also important to understand WHY you got the tricep strain in the first place.
The most common reason is that you’ve developed some bad throwing mechanics due to an underlying weakness in the muscles of the upper arm. This is where doing some simple stretches can help prevent future injury and allow you to resume throwing with full power.
The following are three of the best exercises for preventing tricep strains and helping you throw harder.
1. Wrist Roller: Hold the roller in your non-throwing hand and wrap your throwing arm around so that the palm is facing up.
Let the weight of the roller stretch out your tricep and then roll it back towards you fingers.
Do this until you feel the tricep stretch, hold for 10-15 seconds and then move onto the next one.
2. Overhead Tricep Stretch: Stand straight with good posture and then lift your throwing arm up and bend it so that your forearm is almost parallel to the ground.
Let the weight of your arm stretch the tricep and hold for 10-15 seconds.
Move one arm at a time and do both arms at least twice each to get the most benefit.
3. Wall Tricep Stretch: Stand with your back to a wall and then lift your throwing arm up and bend it so that your forearm is almost parallel to the ground.
Slowly push your arm against the wall until you feel the tricep stretch and then hold for 10-15 seconds.
This is one of the best exercises you can do as it forces you to keep good throwing form which in turns helps to prevent injury.
You can do this one arm at a time or both arms at the same time. Do both arms at least twice to stretch both triceps evenly.
Throwing Hard: Keeping everything Loose
If you’ve ever been to the doctors office and had them check your muscle strength with that little manual testing gadget, then you already know that it provides an accurate measure of how strong each muscle is.
Your throwing arm should be much stronger than the opposite arm as the tricep is much bigger and has a lot more leverage.
If you ever have your muscle strength tested it’s recommended that you do it with both arms as this will give you an accurate reading of how strong each arm is. If your non-throwing arm is much weaker than your throwing arm this may be due to a few possible factors:
Your non-throwing arm is doing some of the work when you pitch, for example if you’re dragging your wrist when you throw this is actually using some of the muscles in the opposite arm.
Your non-throwing arm is assisted by your body in some way. For example if you’re leaning in one direction or putting more weight on one leg than another this is using the non-throwing arm to balance the body.
You have a lot of tension in your body which is actually moving the non-throwing arm into position. This is similar to #2 but is a little different as it’s not helping to balance the body, instead it’s just supporting some of the muscles in the opposite arm.
To see what might be causing this weakness you need to do two things:
First, go back and review the drills listed above for balance and body tension. Go through each one a few times and really focus on keeping your body balanced during the throwing motion.
Really exaggerate keeping your upper body completely motionless while you throw so that you can feel exactly what is moving and when.
Once you’ve done this for a few days and you’re confident that you have it down, move onto the next step.
Second, get yourself a partner who can throw well enough to catch a ball comfortably. You also need a basket or something similar to rest the ball on so that it’s at about the same height that it would be when you’re on the mound.
Your partner should stand roughly where the catcher would normally stand and they should be holding the ball.
Stand roughly where you would normally stand on the mound and take a few practice throws.
Your partner should now make tiny adjustments to your body position as you throw. They should prevent you from doing anything that might cause you to use any muscle other than your arm when you throw.
This means they should not only prevent you from using your shoulder or body, they also need to keep you from moving your feet or even bending your knees.
If you start to fall over, they should even keep you from stepping back to keep your balance.
Do this for a few days and try to throw with only using your arm to see if you can get your non-throwing arm up to speed as well. It might take a few weeks before you see improvement but eventually your body will readjust and the weak muscle will start working properly.
If you find that you just can’t throw with only your arm and you start falling over all the time then this means that your body has likely been helping your arm a lot more than you though which is good news! It just means that there is another weakness that is causing this and you’ll have to go back to step one and find out what it is before you can correct it.
If your partner can’t seem to keep you from using your body when they are trying to stop you from doing so then you’ll either need a stronger partner or you’ll need to use a rubber exercise tubing to wrap around your legs just above the knee. This way you won’t be able to bend your knees and your partner will be able to keep you from falling over while they make adjustments.
You can pick up tubing like this at most sports stores either by searching for something like “exercise tubing” or even by getting something that is used for tubing training for boxing but you’ll need to cut longer pieces.
After you’ve gotten this sorted out and your throwing arm is balanced with your non-throwing arm you’ll need to start working on strengthening it further. I would recommend starting with the easy stuff first.
The first thing you can do is to work on your grip strength. This is super easy and really shouldn’t take more than a few minutes a day.
1. Get a rubber exercise ball
2. Place the ball in your palm and squeeze as hard as you can for about ten seconds
3. Release and repeat
Do this for a few days and then move on to the next thing.
The next thing you can do to strengthen your arm is to get yourself one of those rope things that people use to exercise their arms.
Again this is something that should only take a few minutes a day though I’d start with the shorter length and then once your arm gets stronger you can move onto the longer lengths.
Start with the sports section of whatever store you go to first and find something like a rope ladder. You’re looking for one that is probably made of plastic and has handles at the ends so that you can grab them.
Sources & references used in this article:
The percussionists’ guide to injury treatment and prevention: The answer guide for drummers in pain by D Workman – 2006 – books.google.com
Can stretching prior to exercise and sports improve performance and prevent injury? by MR Bracko – ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 2002 – activeedgemat.com
The impact of stretching on sports injury risk: a systematic review of the literature by SB Thacker, J Gilchrist, DF Stroup… – Medicine & Science in …, 2004 – Citeseer
The anatomy of stretching: your illustrated guide to flexibility and injury rehabilitation by B Walker – 2013 – books.google.com
The efficacy of stretching for prevention of exercise-related injury: a systematic review of the literature by SM Weldon, RH Hill – Manual therapy, 2003 – Elsevier