Monday, March 2, 2009

Unopposed flexors

I have had real trouble with tendonitis since I started ringing. I haven't spoken of it here, mostly because I would have just been whining about it, but now that I have real information I figured I'd share it.

About the time I began handling the sally I started having a tough time with sore knuckles in my right hand. By the time I began raising and lowering it had progressed to real pain. The kind that woke me up several times a night with my hand so stiff I had to use my other hand to bend my fingers into a closed fist and open and close my hand until it loosened up enough that I could sleep again. Until it woke me up again. And again.

I had mentioned it to my primary care doc during my last physical, and explained the movements of bellringing and how and when the pain would hit. He did not seem concerned, and said my hands were just adjusting to the new activity. I kept ringing, and worked myself up into such a state that I decided to stop ringing until the pain stopped. At that point, both hands were hurting, my sleep was seriously disrupted, and I was having problems all day long. So I went two weeks without ringing, and since my hands were getting better I decided to ring a little at our last Thursday night practice. Everything was going ok until I overpulled a tail stroke and tried to correct on the next handstroke, and BAM!. Lyn watched me ring and tried to help me identify where I was going wrong, but I was so worried about feeling pain, my ringing was really crap. By Sunday morning my right hand was killing me and my husband was getting aggravated with me because I was insisting I could go to the tower and not ring (and we both knew that was complete bullshit), so I grudgingly called out, but I have been really worried that I ultimately would have to give up ringing.

So this morning when I had to get some bloodwork drawn, I took advantage of the situation and readdressed the problem with my doctor and I think we have it licked. This, and the way I handle it, is not the culprit:
And while the pain is in my knuckles, it is because of the flexor tendons constantly working to grasp,

while the extensors are not getting any workout from the activity of bellringing.

So therein lies the problem and the solution. The beauty of it is that I don't have to stop ringing! And being an official word from my doc, even the hub can't object! (Which he only does out of a loving concern, so I don't really mind) What I DO have to do is stretch those flexors and contract the extensors right after ringing, everytime I ring. Because unopposed flexors are a bad thing.

Good. Now I can stop talking about it and just ring. I just figured I'd put it out there for anyone else who might come across this problem in their tower. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go work out my extensors so I can ring like a maniac again!

1 comment:

  1. We need to talk about this. Yes, you need to balance flexor activity with extensor activity, and stretching and contracting are good up to a point, but beware of overcompensating and overstraining. Those muscles are meant for speed more than strength, and you may want to look closely at your forearm/wrist/hand alignment as you grasp and release the sally to see what else is going on. Hard to do when you're actually ringing, but if you can get video of your movements and study it afterward you may learn something useful. Srsly, ask me how I know. I've got years of this stuff under my belt from the piano, and I've seen a lot of RS injuries made worse by misguided attempts to stretch and strengthen.