Hi guys and gals!
This is quite a long text, but in order to get some help and/or sound advice, I need to present the whole relevant context. I'd be very grateful if you could help me out, since I'm pretty clueless right now.
Three years ago I ruptured a ligament (ulnar collateral) of my right wrist during a failed clean and jerk attempt. Unfortunately three
different physicians (an orthopedist, a physical rehab physician and a general practicioner) didn't diagnose it.
So I kept working out for a year and a half (high volume, low reps, heavy loads, high frequency) with my wrist's condition slightly, but continually worsening. Since there was no pain, just a constant feeling of overuse, I attributed this condition to my lifting.
Finally, I consulted a hand surgeon who diagnosed the aforementioned ruptured ligament (approximately 66% of it was ruptured) in an arthroscopy and a slight softening of the TFCC (the cartilage complex).
In a follow up reconstruction surgery the surgeons sliced off a small strip of my right hand's musculus palmaris tendon and stitched it to the ruptured ligament as a replacement of the torn material.
After six weeks I could get rid off my cast, got some physical therapy and eight weeks after the surgery I resumed my lifting.
Since I was never one for stretching, I didn't bother to stretch the repaired ligament (by stretching the finger flexors and going deep into the stretch). Given my usual workout style (high volume, low reps, heavy loads, high frequency), I quickly overstressed the repaired ligament/tendon, so that even a slightly lateral flexion of my wrist (right hand, palms up, flexing to the left) burned and pained like nothing I've ever experienced.
Not having known that eccentrics and/or a thorough stretching routine might help, I still didn't stretch. I just waited a few days and started lifting anew. This went on for some months. One day I slipped and fell right on my right hand, making a forceful dorsiflexion (hand perpendicular to the lower arm).
Since then, my wrist's condition deteriorated very fast. The lateral flexion I described above was always accompanied by a very loud cracking/clicking sound and every few weeks I had to interrupt my lifting.
Sadly, no physician could help me, even a MRI didn't show anything unusual (besides the post-injury and post-surgery scars). That's why I (at first) want to take my chances with you and your knowledge, guys. Before I'm going to waste hours and hours with physicians for nothing, I want to get some other opinions and/or advice.
After doing some research on the internet, I stumbled upon eccentrics and started to do eccentric wrist curls for the finger flexors twice a day (30 reps per set) and stretched the finger flexors twice or even thrice a day (3min static). After a few weeks the pain subsided, the clicking sounds almost totally vanished and I could resume lifting and could even go quite heavy (approximately 80-90% of my former strength).
I just omitted direct arm training, since the force vectors can be quite stressful on the wrists. That was a year ago. Since then I perform two 30 rep eccentric wrist curl sets for my finger flexors before and after every workout. Besides, I do a 3 min static stretch of the finger flexors after each workout.
Five months later I even resumed some biceps work by doing scott curls. My wrist's condition got even better since then. But I haven't done any direct triceps work in three years, since I feared and still fear it might aggravate my wrist too much. The stress on it feels just too big, even with relatively light weights.
Unfortunately, my wrist's condition worsened since I switched from a 5x5 to 10reps per exercise.
And my elbow's (of the same arm), too. When locking my arms out in pressing exercises, my elbow feels weird. I wouldn't call it pain, but it's definetely a discomfort.
In order to save time and work my grip strength, I immediately followed bent over barbell rowing with barbell shrugs. During the last reps of the shrugs I held the barbell with just the fingertips on my right hand (while my left hand felt - as always since the surgery - perfectly fine and had enough strength left).
So I tried laying off for a few days and performed the usual stretching and eccentric exercises for my finger flexors. Sadly, the discomfort is still in my wrist and elbow. I even have the feeling that stretching my finger flexors aggravates my elbow's condition.
Question 1: is this possible (from an anatomical point of view)?
As far as I understand it, locking out the arms is achieved by contracting the triceps (and in so doing shortening the triceps tendon, stretching the biceps and its tendons). So, what could be possible reasons?
While I was bent over barbell rowing, I sensed a relief in my elbow during the eccentric phase. After my workout I tried some eccentric concentration curls and felt even more relief in my elbow.
Question 2: is biceps work really beneficial for elbow pain?
Question 3: what other methods might help me?
Question 4: can a disproportion between biceps and triceps aggravate such an elbow condition? Could it even have been the very cause of it?
My biceps is much bigger than my triceps. It's always been bigger, even before I started weight lifting in 2000 (click the following link to get a picture of this disproportion: http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/6503/armwg3.jpg ).
Idiot that I was, I never bothered much with direct triceps exercises even before my injury.
Thanks for reading all the text.
Hope you can help me out.