Sports clinic: When rowers get sore wrists, it's time to rest the oars

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The Independent Online

I'm a rower and I suffer from tenosynovitis in my wrist. Who should I see to get it treated and how should I avoid worsening the condition.

I'm a rower and I suffer from tenosynovitis in my wrist. Who should I see to get it treated and how should I avoid worsening the condition.
Simon Joyce

In tenosynovitis, the tendons over the back of the wrist become inflamed, swollen and tender. Physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory treatment and rest in a splint is the normal treatment. If this fails, a cortisone injection is often effective. The last resort is an operation where the tendon sheath is cut open. To avoid reoccurrence, reduce the intensity and volume of training, change sides so that the pulling arm becomes the turning arm, and loosen the oar in the gate so that it turns more easily.

I road run and use the running machine in the gym. Could you explain which is better for me – the running machine certainly seems easier on my knees?
Charles Marston, by email

You will get similar exercise on the running machine from the point of view of your cardiovascular and respiratory system. Your heart and lungs will get just as much benefit from the running machine as they would on the road. Thus it depends what you are aiming for. If you are mainly trying to improve your health and enjoy running in the gym then the running machine is potentially safer because there is less impact and so your knees will be protected. If, however, you are planning to race you must do appropriate training and build up the running on the road so that you can tolerate it. Road running is more difficult because of hills and wind resistance. Running downhill is the most damaging to your knees with 30 per cent more impact and force being transmitted through the joint than when you run uphill. If you want to take part in fun runs or competitions, then you need to build up your tolerance on the road but it is perfectly reasonable to cross train, developing other aspects of your running fitness (such as the heart/lung system) by using gym machines, including the treadmill. If your knees continue to cause pain, then you should see a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor who can make a diagnosis and give you appropriate exercises.

When playing tennis, I am not sure where to stand when my partner is serving and I'm a bit scared of getting hit in the backside. What is your advice?
Philip Erickson, York

The first essential in doubles, as the Official Encyclopaedia of Tennis advises, is "when choosing a partner, above all select somebody with whom you can be in complete sympathy." Thus, if their serve hits you, or vice versa, complete sympathy is assured, rather than an argument with the other half of your own team. The second thing is to ensure your partner can play a bit and is likelier to get the ball over the net than into your body. If this cannot be guaranteed, try standing a little wider at the net, or bending lower. Best of all, play the "tandem" formation, in which you stand in the same half of the court from which your partner is serving.

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