A long time ago, but not so far away, I did a PhD. My area of expertise is primarily in research methods and biostatistics, but you can’t do a degree in methods and stats without a content area, so my content area is musculoskeletal health–which does carry over to what I do now (how about that?) Since I wanted to focus on developing and experimenting with new research methods and analytical techniques, I picked a disease that was very common, so that I wouldn’t run into recruitment issues; because there’s nothing worse than putting a year’s worth of work into writing a protocol, getting ethics approval, funding and everything in place only to find that it’s going to take the next 8 years to meet your sample size. So to avoid this problem, I picked tennis elbow, because everyone and their dog has tennis elbow. And there are no magic bullets to treat tennis elbow.
I learned a lot in that PhD (there’s a mild understatement.) I keep learning now. But out of that PhD arose my opinion on how to treat tennis elbow. At one point, there was a post on jpfitness.com that outlined the protocol, but it seems to have vanished. And recently, Scott Baptie was interested in at least reading about it and I had no where to point him. So, for posterity’s sake, here’s my protocol for tennis elbow.
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I picked this study for two reasons: 1) It’s actually not a half-bad study, and 2) It addresses a significant fitness issue that has been plaguing athletes, trainers and coaches for decades–to stretch or not to stretch. However, despite the study’s many strengths, it falls just short of making it truly useful in helping active people make the decision whether or not to perform static stretching.
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