View Full Version : martial arts training and tendonitis

2nd March 2001, 01:27
I have recently resumed training in Iai and after only about two weeks (of quite light practice) I am experiencing tenseness in my right wrist and forearm. I have never had this problem with Kendo, although the kind of motions I make are quite different. In fact I've never had any problems like this before at all.

First of all, I acknowledge that I must be making incorrect movements with my wrist (overextension).

I want to inquire about whether or not it is common to have these kinds of symptoms when practicing.

Allan Heinemann

5th March 2001, 23:53
Funny you should mention this now..
I'm having a problem with the tendons, or ligaments, in my left wrist - basically pain, and the wrist seeming to slip out of joint sometimes, then click back into place - a bit like cracking knuckles. I'm currently wearing a wrist splint, taking some time away from Aikido, and taking a course of Voltarol (diclofenac sodium) anti-inflamatories for it..
I'm curious as to: (i) If there's anything I can do to assist the healing process and (ii) if anyone can recommend some wrist exercises to strength the muscles, and so take some of the burden away from the tendons/ligaments..? (Nothing dirty please :D)

Ed Lomax
10th March 2001, 08:07
tendonitis is common in many sports and more so with anything that has repetitive action - kendo would be a perfect example. You do not need to repeatedly go to the end of range of movement for it to agravate the tendons either - it is the repeated loading of the tendon via muscle action that is the culprit.
Example of this are tennis elbow and miners elbow - the first is due to the wrist extension use don backhands, and the second is due to repeated wrist flexion and griping with the fingers during use of pick-axes and sledge-hammers (rather similar to kendo as far as what muscles are used)

Problems of the wrist moving in and out of joints are due to lax ligaments and these are much harder to repair. Some do and some don't depending on which ligaments and how badly damaged and this is really yhr realm of specialist orthopaedic surgeons and physio's - not just ordinary ones like me :) Given time I could probably work a problem like this out but not via the internet. Obvious things like bracing is an option and so is strengthening - try to do this in ways that do not increase the risk of the shifting feeling - this is called a subluxation and is the forerunner of dislocation, a good anatomy book may provide you with detailed explanations and pictures of the difference.
The best strngthening exercises are called stabilising X's i.e. you don't have to do a full range of movement but you balance out the muscles so that the joint is less likely to sublux.

good luck,


13th March 2001, 09:18
Hi Allan,

Iai's movements are definitely different from what you encountered in Kendo.

What's caused your injury is actually a very common mistake for people learning about the sword. When you draw, what you're doing is this...Hold you're right hand out in front of you.

Make a fist with your palm pointing down, and pretend that you've drawn. Don't go through the motion because that's not the cause of your injury. What's the culprit is your wrist!

With your right hand in front of you simply arc your hand slowly as if you were using a hammer. See how your wrist little knuckle passes out past your wrist...you don't want to do that!!

2 simple reasons:

First: In breaking the plain like that you are bringing the tip of your blade passed your opponent. When you do a horizontal draw cut you're supposed to finish so that the tip of the sword points at your target. By continuing through the way you have your tip has passed the opponent...if you missed they can close...when pointing at them you can stop their advance with a stab.

Second: In breaking the plain you put to much stress on a select few muscles in your forearm that are incapable of dealing with the momentum & weight of your katana. The result is injury & if continued, severe tendon problems.

To stop your problem:

Draw as you normally would, except point with your index finger at your target. You'll find that this will stop your wrist from bending past where you want it to ( both for your draws & for the cleaning of the blade ).

Since your problem is already hurting you, you can still practise, but instead of using a katana or bokken, use a tanbo or something else that approximates just the size and length of the hilt. This way you can practise your kata's without instigating further injury.

Good luck,

Eric Bookin

13th March 2001, 15:32
I had some tendonitis last year that bothered me for several months. A fellow martial artist recommended a product called Inholtra Natural Pain Relief, which somehow assists in the healing of the tissue. It can be found at most health food and nutritional stores. After taking it for several weeks, the tendonitis cleared up and hasn't recurred. You might give it a try as well. Good luck!

24th March 2001, 05:04
Allan and DJM
In both Canada and the UK, there are superb physiotherapists, well versed in treating tendonitis. You might consider getting a referral to one from your primary physician. Then check around to find a physiotherapist specializing in sports medicine, with a background in manual therapy.

In the meantime, the advice given by the previous respondents is excellent. Might also consider Arnica gel from a health food store or herbal market. And of course, there's the breakfast of champions, ibuprofen!

Best of luck.