Tennis Elbow from the clarinet.? yes indeed

Hi Sherman,
Ever heard of this one? Tennis elbow, (left arm), from playing the clarinet!
I started playing about 3 years ago, and have played daily for at least an hour, with no problems. Then a couple of months ago I started to get a sort of cramp in the elbow after playing about 20 minutes. I persisted for a week or so, but finally gave up, and had 4 weeks holiday without the clarinet, thinking it just needed a rest.
But as soon as I played again, the problem was back.
Since then I’ve been having medical treatment, for about 4 weeks now, with much improvement, until I pick-up the clarinet again.
Two factors I should perhaps mention: I’ve been playing in a band recently, and perhaps a bit of tension has crept into the arms; and also I started playing an old tenor sax, which has a stiff register key for the left thumb, which might have triggered off the problem, though I did not play it much.

I’m a great fan of your Clarinet Corner, and even bought myself an Arioso. I had it shipped out here to France, and am very happy with it.
Keep up the good work,

George.
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Hi:
Thank you for your kind comments concerning this site.I’m happy that you obtained an Arioso from reading about it on the site. It is an excellent acoustical development, perhaps the best in many years

Tennis elbow, if that is it, can be an extremely painful situation of which the only thing that helps is rest and change. Do not touch the Tenor unless your life depends on it.
But in the left arm, one can consider it more interesting. I think that it must be part or all of your left hand positioning as you play. It is even more so the changing position of your left arm.There are many mannerisms which creep into our playing position without our even knowing them . The results of these unconscious developments can certainly include “tennis elbow”
Clearly to me, it would seem that you are holding out the left elbow when you play. Just slightly more than necessary can do the deed.
Rest your arms against your side as you play and do not extend the left arm in any degree whatsoever. But consciously keep it relaxed despite any inclination, musical or other wise to change it. That may be the problem.
Very relaxed hand and arm position. Do not move your arms when you play. Many do, and TE is the possible result.
good luck,
sherman

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