Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tennis Elbow, Ack Thpppt!!!

Shim clipped a tree during a mountain bike race a few weeks back, resulting in a crash that compressed some ribs.  I told him to have it looked at by our friend and physical therapist, Mike Bartels. Mike has successfully treated my knee, shoulders and ribs before. Mike told me that with the knee and shoulders, I should go easy when I felt pain. But not so for the ribs. In fact, he said I could work them until I cried and they'd still be able to take more. 

I enjoyed telling Shim that he could work his ribs until he cried.  Ha! Imagine that.

Recently, I rolled up next to my old pal Fred (aka Fredcube) during a local group ride. Fred's been kicking some ass and getting back into solid riding form. Apparently that -- the cycling, not the ass kicking -- took a toll on his right knee, which developed into bursitis that sidelined him for a few weeks. Again, I recommended Bartels.

I, too, have come down with some sort of overuse injury recently. I've got tennis elbow. But here's the deal. I don't even play tennis. I believe I got it from riding my bike.

I used to play tennis when I was a kid. I got tennis elbow back then too. From tennis, not from my bike. Somebody pointed to my racquet strings and said that the catgut transferred vibration through my aluminum Jimmy Conners racquet right into my elbow. He then gave the hard-sale pitch for a tennis-elbow prevention do-hickey device like this one:

I didn't hear much of his sales pitch. I was still stuck on his usage of the word, 'catgut.' I was flabbergasted at the thought. Did he really say just say that?! And did he really mean cat-gut, or was it an urban legend like BubbleYum being made out of spider eggs? My mind raced.  What if it was true? Were there cauldrons of dead cats boiling in sweatshops in Bangladesh, waiting to be turned into catgut for tennis racquets?

I ended up buying one of those dampeners. I don't know if my tennis elbow went away any sooner because of it. It looked cool at least.

Once, when my brother had some tendon/joint issues, he took Glucosamine & Chondroitin. It sounded interesting until I discovered that Chondroitin is ground up bovine cartilage. That ruined it for me. My mind drifted back to Bangladesh, the cats having been replaced with boiling cattle carcasses.

I'm sure some will disagree, but taking Chondroitin for cartilage health is like swallowing a handful of hair to make that bald spot on the back of one's head disappear.

Yeah, that's not going to work.  Swallowing the hair, not the bovine cartilege.  Even if you thought it would, there'd be the problem of keeping it down. Your cat can't seem to keep it down. What makes you think you can?

So, I then wondered if there was something I could add to reduce road vibration. I discovered that there's all kinds of stuff.  My favorite is the Bontrager Bzzzkill that replace your cheap plastic bar end caps with harmonically balanced brass dampeners.

As stated on the Cozy Beehive blog, "the Bontrager 'Bzzzkill' dampers apply the principle behind what is called a 'tuned mass damper'. Its fairly simple to understand and I'll let you read an entry describing it on Wikipedia."

I don't know about that Wikipedia page being fairly simple to understand or not. I mean, do those funny letters in formulas like   m_2 = m_1/10 really mean anything?

But why sweat the tech specs when you can sit back, relax and let Ken from Ken's Quick Bike tips tell you all about it.


Hang on a sec...Ack! Thpppt!!! I think I've got a hairball coming up.  I'll be right back.

Ack! Thpppt!!!