An estimated 1 in every 3 people has tennis elbow at some time in their lives. This common yet painful condition can be treated though! We have done our research to provide you with the top 5 exercises for tennis elbow to help get you back into the swing of things in no time.
These exercises can bring tennis elbow pain relief and strengthen muscles. Let’s take a look into what tennis elbow is, the causes of tennis elbow, and the exercise treatment for tennis elbow!
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a form of tendonitis which is a swelling of the tendons. This swelling causes pain in the arm and elbow area. Although its name is tennis elbow you don’t have to swing a racket to suffer from this painful condition!
Repetitive gripping motions can cause a flare-up of the condition. Tennis elbow generally only affects one elbow, however, it can affect both depending on the activity. The condition can occur at any age, however, it is more common in people over the age of 40.
What Are the Causes?
Repetitive motions can cause microscopic tears in the tissue around the elbow. These tears are what causes the pain from tennis elbow. Certain careers like typing or carpentry can make a person prone to tennis elbow.
Additionally, heavy lifting and certain types of physical activities or sports can cause the condition. Tennis elbow causes pain in the bony part of the elbow as well as the upper and lower arm. The pain usually worsens during movement or activities.
Let’s take a look at some exercises that can help alleviate the pain of tennis elbow.
1. Fist Clench
People who suffer from tennis elbow often report having difficulty gripping objects. The fist clench exercise can help those with poor grip strengthen their grip and help ease the pain of tennis elbow.
For this exercise, the person will sit at a table with their forearm extended on the table holding a small towel or rag in their hand. They will then squeeze the towel for ten seconds at a time and repeat the exercise ten times. This workout helps to strengthen the muscles in the forearm and prevents further damage.
2. Towel Twist
This is a simple exercise for tennis elbow that a person can do at home with ease. This exercise strengthens the wrist extensors and flexors which in turn help to strengthen the tendons in the elbow.
For this exercise, the person will sit at a table with a hand towel held between both hands. They will thing wring the towel back and forth in opposite directions repeating the motion ten times.
3. Dumbell Excercise
In the forearm, there is a muscle called the supinator. This is a long muscle that travels up the forearm to the elbow. Exercising this muscle with dumbells is a great way to strengthen the muscle and reduce the pain of tennis elbow.
For this exercise, a person will take a lightweight dumbbell, no more than two pounds, and hold it vertically while seated. They will then rotate the dumbbell up and down repeating the process fifteen to twenty times.
4. Wrist Flex
Flexing and stretching the extensor of the wrist can help prevent flare-ups of tennis elbow. This is a simple yet effective exercise that can be done daily.
For this exercise, the person will hold their arm out fully extended in front of their body. Then with their palm facing the ground, they will take their other hand and slowly push their hand up vertically and hold the position for twenty seconds. This process should be repeated three to five times.
5. Elbow Bend
This is a simple exercise motion that can help strengthen the muscle and stretch the tendons appropriately to avoid tennis elbow. This exercise can be done with or without a lightweight dumbbell.
For this exercise, the person will stand with their arm straight by their side. They will then slowly curl their arm up to their shoulder bending at the elbow. The position should be held for fifteen to twenty seconds and then the process should be repeated three to five times.
Things to Know
If you are showing signs of tennis elbow you should always speak with a healthcare professional before starting any kind of treatment plan. They will be able to evaluate the situation and determine if something more complicated is causing the pain.
Additionally, activities that cause tennis elbow should be stopped until the inflammation has subsided and the pain is gone. Changing the way you perform daily activities can help prevent future flare-ups of tennis elbow. In addition to the exercises, ice and rest are often recommended to ease the pain.
If you are experiencing pain from tennis elbow try to pay attention to when the pain occurs. Keep a log of flare-ups and measure the intensity of the pain. Keeping a log will help you identify the motions or activities that are causing the pain so that you can adjust them accordingly.
The Best Exercises for Tennis Elbow
These are the top exercises for tennis elbow that will help ease pain and prevent further flare-ups. These exercises can strengthen the muscles in the forearm which will improve function overall.
Daily motions should be monitored to avoid tennis elbow. Certain motions will cause the condition to flare-up and should get adjusted accordingly.
For issues like tennis elbow, sometimes it is the best course of action to seek the help of the pros! Using a combination of Holistic, Orthopedic, and Sports Medicine we strive to help our patients alleviate their pain.
Visit our page today to learn more about our services and business practices so you can get on your way to feeling better!
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Danh Ngo PT, DPT, OCS, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
Onbase University Certified Pitching Specialist
Certified Advanced Movement Specialist – RockTape
Certified Mobility Specialist – Rocktape
Mind Body Health Results Coach