Elbow pain? Can’t shoot your bow without sharp pains in your elbow? Well, don’t give up hope. During the summer of 2011, I began to notice pain on the outside of my bow arm elbow. “Tennis elbow!” all of my friend told me.
I iced it, took anti-inflammatory medications and pressed on. The pain was bearable during the 2011 IBO World Championship. In fact, I was able to shoot through it, and win the worlds that year, but soon after worlds it rapidly got worse.
Over the following two and half years I received three corticosteroid injections, and considered a witch doctor. Each injection enabled me to shoot for four to six months’ pain free, and then it returned with a vengence. I soon noticed a knot forming on my elbow. I tried to take periods off, but it killed me not shooting – I was stubborn!
My ability to practice appropriately soon became impossible, which led to poor performances in tournaments, and that resulted in frustration and depression. In November 2013, an orthopedic surgeon recommended that I try a Platelet Rich Plasma (PHP) injection. I agreed. I would have tried anything at that point.
They drew a vile of my own blood and spun it, which neatly separated the platelets from the red and white blood cells. The surgeon then drew out the platelets with a syringe, and injected it directly into the most painful area. The platelets attacked the area thus stimulating my own body to heal it. Within a week I could tell a difference. It was working! In December I returned, and asked him to give me one more injection before I departed for Afghanistan.
I deployed to Afghanistan the first week of January with no bow. I planned to give the arm a complete rest from shooting. Convinced that I needed to strengthen the arm, I hit the gym pretty heavily, but I let pain be my guide as to how much that arm could handle. At first it was sore, but still seemed to be improving. It’s April 25, as write this and I have been completely pain free for over two weeks. There was a time that I could not pick up a soda can with my left hand. If I bumped the elbow I was in tears. Today, I am hammering in the gym and back to normal activity.
If you are suffering from tendonitis in your elbow see your doctor and ask about PHP. Best of luck.