Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wood splitter's elbow

I've been thinking about a common term lately; Tennis elbow.
Lateral Epicondylitis is the medical term, and wikipedia says it was first "described" in 1873. I'm willing to bet that while it may have been first mentioned in some medical journal or other paper of record then, plenty of people had described it prior to that, and in pretty negative terms, if only to their friends. 

In reading about all the types of repetitive motion and trauma that can cause it, I think the number of cases caused by tennis may be a minority, and propose that the name should be changed to one more general, or maybe to one of a more pragmatic endeavor than tennis. 

Like, for example, splitting wood, which is how I got mine. For the record, this condition has been on my mind since late October, when I split wood for a good part of the day. In my case, there was stupidity and stubbornness in addition to repetitive motion. 

I know I am still getting in to shape after many years in a desk job, and I am not as young as I was when I could get away with weekend warrior crap. But I also take it personal when a knotty hunk of wood does not yield to a couple sound blows, and so keep whaling at it till I win, with increasing force as required. 

While we had not moved here till this summer, I did come up as often as possible, and again, cram as much work in to a weekend as possible. A couple years ago, I got the same pain from digging post holes. It took 5 or 6 months to fade, and this time looks to be easily as long.

For all you homesteaders and hobby farmers out there, or anyone prone to taking tools in hand and swinging them for long stretches, I suggest you don't tell anyone you've got tennis elbow, that just doesn't send the right message. I plan to call my affliction wood splitter's elbow.

Here is a shot of the wood storage I cobbled together from project leftovers.  ( photo is prior to splitting some of the wood) As of this writing, it is empty. I have some more wood stored in another location under weather protection, but we are in mid February, and it looks like we  will just squeak by this winter.

Next fall, I plan to start earlier, and pace myself, as wood splitter's elbow is no fun.

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