View Full Version : An insight into Maria's injury, from one who's been there

Jul 24th, 2007, 01:45 PM
Thought I would share this, since so many are so quick to write Maria off as having "confidence" issues, or some "mental block" against certain players.

I have essentially the same injury that Maria does--severe tendonitis of the right (serving) shoulder. Mine occured in early April 2007. After a doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories for a week, which only masked the pain, I went for an MRI, which revealed no rotator cuff tear but a type 2 impingement of the right shoulder joint. Physical therapy was prescribed.

After about 5 weeks of PT, I had much of the strength back in my shoulder, but was not 100%. More significantly, I was still having pain on release, and with certain motions like reaching behind me to do something as simple as pulling a door closed, for example. When I told my trainer this, he suggested a technique called "cross friction". This PT worked as a trainer with the New York Jets and New York Islanders, as well as several tennis players and hundreds of college and high school athletes in Miami.

He indicated that tendonitis is a very difficult condition to treat with regular exercise-based PT because of its very nature--it occurs when repeated tears in a muscle (normal wear and tear from regular usage) finally overload the attached tendon. It's like a scab that forms on a wound--the more you pick at it, the more scar tissue forms, and scar tissue on the tendon is what causes the impingement--i.e., prevents the joint from working smoothly.

Anyway, the purpose of cross friction is to break down the scar tissue and allow the tendon to bleed and heal naturally, without doing any work with it. It is essentially a deep tissue massage of the the area where the tendon attaches to the bone, but it is done ACROSS the tendon fibers. That description doesn't do it justice. It is the second most painful thing I have ever experienced, right behind a kidney stone. Basically, he is doing everything BUT ripping the tendon off the bone.

I mention this because it gives a unique perspective into Maria's injury that most people have no clue about--including all of the writers who have dismissed her. If she is going through even half of what I am, then I can say with assurance that there is no way she could play at anywhere near 100%. Today, after doing the cross friction, I can't even lift my arm, much less serve a tennis ball. I don't think many people understand just how painful this injury is.

She can beat 99% of the players she faces just because she is at another level skill-wise and mentally. But against the top tier, who she is probably not as strong as physically, she at least needs her right arm to be 100%. Right now, it isn't. And no opinionated teenager on an internet message board is going to convince me otherwise.

Just my $.02.

Il Primo!
Jul 24th, 2007, 01:49 PM
Interesting, thanks I Heart Masha. And how is your injury now BTW?

Jul 24th, 2007, 01:53 PM
Thanks for that.

Any idea when you are supposed to be fully recovered? Does the PT recommend exercise or inactivity in addition to the therapy?

Jul 24th, 2007, 02:09 PM
See, that's the problem. The PT says that WITH the therapy or the cross friction (you can't do them both at the same time, btw), no outside activity. Maria is actually PLAYING COMPETITIVE TENNIS during all of this!

Maybe her doctors have given her different advice, but my PT would say that is a big no no. She is right in saying that the injury probably could not get any worse--it is hurting, and it will continue to hurt, but for it to heal, she is going to have to lay off the tennis for awhile or start serving lefty. Or try the cross friction for a couple of weeks with no tennis, just to try it and see if it helps.

I have said all along that I thought she wasn't taking off the time she needed to heal. I know she is a multimillion dollar athlete, and has many endorsement deals and feels that she has to be playing and winning, but at this point, she really needs to give a hard look at doing something for her health. In the long run, it would be the best thing for her, because she'll build up a hunger to be the best.

As for me, I just started the cross friction last week. Prior to that, I felt pretty much the same as I did back in April, so I can understand why Maria was still hurting at Wimbledon. The PT told me that in a couple of weeks, we should know if this new technique worked, because the muscles/tendons will heal that quickly. But that's only if I lay off of doing ANYTHING with my right arm while that's going on. And to be honest, I am not looking forward to more of that cross friction. It really hurts. But if it helps, it will be worth it.

Jul 24th, 2007, 06:04 PM
i always believed maria had an injury of a serious nature and this report has confirmed it. it sounds very serious so will it ever actually heal itself nd if maria were to take time off how long would it take to heal. i guess as many maria fans i was hoping maria might have a good few weeks of practice and then come back with her serve back to last years form and helping her win many matches but after reading this im worried it wont be the case. of course marias a figter and will do her best to stay were she in the rankings i dont think id be surprised if we saw her go into even more of a slump with this injury but hopefully il be proven wrong. i wish maria all the health and hapiness in the upcoming months. :)

Jul 24th, 2007, 11:14 PM
i'm a leftie and boy do i hate it when my shoulder aches. at that time i was playing both volleyball and tennis. and let me tell you this. there's nothing worse than having to serve when you have shoulder aches. i even felt pain when playing my doublehanded backhand (which is my best shot) :mad: luckily it went away. but sometimes it flares up :mad:

then i nearly broke my ankle after landing on it after a smash during volleyball...

and then i fell on my left wrist during volleyball and it was reaaaaal bad. i thought i was never gonna be able to play without pain anymore. luckily it went away. there's still this clicking in my wrist though that i never had before.

well i quit volleyball though i loved it, mainly because i realized that my body couldnt take both sports anymore and most of my injuries happened during volleyball. i miss it, but at school i still play sometimes and also beachvolleyball is something i like playing as well.. so... i do that for a change sometimes...

ugh... i just want her to be healthy again. and to able to play competitive tennis without pain.

go masha... hope ya feeling good i heart masha.

Jul 25th, 2007, 01:03 PM
There are various levels of tendonitis. Hopefully Maria's is not so serious, and will resolve with further rest. I've certainly not heard of this cross friction before.

Jul 25th, 2007, 01:11 PM
I've certainly not heard of this cross friction before.


It is commonly used with athletes, who tend to suffer tendonitis more frequently than non-athletes. You can google the term and see that 1) it is a scientifically recognized and accepted method of treating tendonitis, and 2) there are many who've had it done who say that while it is painful as hell, it worked for them. I'm hoping it does for me too. And maybe Maria's trainers ought to take a look at trying it if they haven't already.

Regardless of how severe her injury may be, tendonitis doesn't just go away if you're ignoring it. Whether it's regular exercise-based PT, cross-friction massage, laser therapy, etc., they all have a common element--stop using the injured limb for an extended period. She needs to lay off of playing tennis for an extended period, and that isn't happening.

What I'm afraid of is that she's going to burn herself out trying to play with injuries, when this type of thing is treatable with a little patience and rest.

Sep 1st, 2007, 08:56 AM
And don't forget about tennis elbow. You're right, all these players are playing to the maximum that their young bodies will permit. When they get older they are going to find it will take them two days instead of one to recover from a full day's play or practice.

Sep 1st, 2007, 09:02 AM
Thanks for the info. I had absolutely no idea about the injury. She should take some time off and let her shoulder heal so she can be a 100% again.