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Tendonitis – Prevention and Cure for Jugglers

As a card carrying member of the International Jugglers’ Association, I am lucky enough to receive their monthly newsletter. If you are interested in juggling (or joggling) the IJA is a great organization to be part of. Please check out their website http://www.juggle.org.

They had a great article in their April 2007 e-Newsletter about tendinitis and jugglers written by Véronique Provencher and were nice enough to give me permission to reprint it here for the JYAJ community.

Tendinitis and Jugglers

by Véronique Provencher, RN, Diaboloiste!

What do typists, pianists, and jugglers have in common? The three have a high risk of tendinitis, usually caused by tendonitis jugglingrepetitive movement without the muscular structure to support the effort. The tendon is the cord that attaches the muscle to the bone. A ligament (very similar to a tendon), connects two bones.

Tendinitis is an inflammation of a muscle’s tendon. It causes micro tears in the tendon, which if not treated, can lead to a complete separation in an extreme case. Tendinitis can be avoided by varying muscular activities, and by following a conditioning regimen specific to your sport. A juggler can often spend several hours repeating the same movement, juggling three clubs for example. The arm is always repeating the same motion. It catches a club on the outside and throws it from the inside in an constantly repeating pattern. You have to vary the way the muscle is used. So in a training session, you might do clubs, diabolo, balls, and mix in some dance or capoera. If you can’t vary the object, then vary the tricks. Above all, make sure your muscular development is sufficient to avoid injury.

Specific physical conditioning should reinforce the muscles supporting the targeted activity. Juggling is composed of small movements that are rapid and precise, repeated for hours at a time. Contrast the endurance of juggling with weight lifting where the effort is explosive, forceful and sustained for a short period of time. Conditioning has to be focused on rapid movements, endurance, posture stabilization (abdominal and dorsal), and reinforcing the muscles opposing those used in juggling (scapula, triceps). An example of an exercise specific for juggling: take two weights and rapidly move your arms as if you were juggling three or five balls (don’t throw the weights!). Do three series of forty repetitions.

When you have tendinitis, ice is your friend. Apply ice for ten minutes every hour on the affected region, using a wet cloth to protect your skin. Anti-Inflammatory drugs are useful (usually Advil – ibuprofen, or Aleve – naproxen) to help speed healing. You shouldn’t train while taking medication, because you can aggravate an injury while the pain signals are suppressed by the drug. Take a break from juggling if it is painful. It is important for recovery to gently stretch the affected region and reinforce it. Identify the motion that caused the problem, and build up the supporting muscles.

Republished (with permission) from the International Jugglers’ Association’s April 2007 E-newsletter

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