Tennis Elbow Exercises and Stretches
Updated: Apr 27
Tennis elbow is an injury to the elbow and forearm caused by repetitive activity and inflammation of the forearm muscles connected to the elbow.
The condition is also known as lateral epicondylitis. While the name suggests that the main cause is tennis, it can happen to anyone, not just athletes. People who work such jobs with repetitive movements as painters or carpenters are especially susceptive.
Tennis elbow injury results in pain, discomfort, weak grip, burning sensation, and unless treated, it may worsen with time.
One of the best ways to strengthen the arm after such an injury is tennis elbow stretches. We're sharing the best stretches you can easily do at home or anywhere else in this article.
Tennis elbow causes and symptoms
Any repetitive activity where the person performs a repetitive motion of gripping or twisting can cause a tennis elbow.
It can even happen if you've taken up a home project, e.g., renovating the garden shed or doing specific physical exercises.
The symptoms of such injury include:
Pain and tenderness in the arm and elbow.
Overall loss of range of motion and comfort.
The good news is that most people with tennis elbow don't need a doctor's help as the pain goes away in a couple of weeks, and the tennis elbow stretches, later on, can strengthen the arm.
If you've experienced this injury, you can use ice or heat to ease the pain and take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen.
The most important thing is to stop repetitive activities, protect the arm from additional strain, and focus on recovery. Rest the arm, adjust your movements, and keep the palms flat and elbows bent when lifting things.
Introduce tennis elbow stretches to your recovery plan after consulting with your physical therapist and the doctor. This type of tennis elbow rehab help will help strengthen forearm muscles, improve their function, and prevent the injury from happening again.
Best Tennis Elbow Exercises and Stretches
It's best to do a variety of elbow exercises for pain to experience their effect. Still, it would be best if you avoided tennis elbow exercises and stretches that make you uncomfortable or worsen the situation.
Strengthening exercises include some of the moves with the weighted wrist extension, weighted wrist flexion, weighted wrist rotation, and ball squeezes and towel twists.
Exercises when you stretch the wrist extensors and flexors also can improve the flexibility of all the affected muscle groups.
The best tennis elbow rehab exercises:
Bend the elbow.
Extend the hand outwards, palm facing up, and twist the wrist around until the palm is facing down.
Hold the position for 5 seconds, then repeat ten more times and do two or three more repetitions.
Do two more sets of 10 repetitions.
Bending the elbow
Stand straight with the arm lowered to one side.
Bend your arm upwards until the hand touches the shoulder and hold the position for 20-30 seconds, then repeat ten more times. This will help with strengthening the elbow.
Grip a light weight - a small bottle of water will work.
Bend the elbow, then extend the hand outwards, palm facing up.
Bend the wrist up towards your body. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
Release and repeat ten more times. Do one or two more sets.
Wrist extensor stretch
Raise your straight arm with the palm facing down in front of you , and then slowly bend the wrist downwards.
Slowly pull the hand back towards the body with the other hand, hold for 20 - 30 seconds, and then straighten the wrist.
Repeat two more times and do two or three more sets.
Wrist extensor flex
Raise the arm straight out in front of the body with the palm facing down, and then slowly bend the wrist upwards.
Slowly and gently pull the fingers back towards the body with your other hand and hold for 20 - 30 seconds, then straighten the wrist.
Repeat two more times and do two or three more sets.
Grab a rolled-up towel and grip it with fingers to form a fist
Squeeze tightly for 10 seconds and repeat then more times. This is one of the top exercises to relieve tennis elbow.
This is one of the best stretches for tennis elbow. Grab a rolled-up towel with one hand at each end and twist it by moving the hands in opposite directions. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
Repeat ten times and do the same in the opposite direction.
Do these tennis elbow strengthening exercises and stretches for tennis elbow pain as often as you can for the best results.
What to Avoid
While the stretching exercises for the tennis elbow above can be helpful, make sure that anything that causes sharp pain. It's essential to remember this when working out the entire body, as specific workouts may cause more harm and injury.
The exercises to avoid:
· Wrist exercises. Skip any of these exercises because they add stress to you the injured areas (forearm and elbow) and can worsen the pain and discomfort.
· Straight arm workouts. If the exercise requires you to hold your elbows fully extended, skip it while you're recovering, as they might add extra strain to your muscles.
· Push-ups, bench presses. These exercises add stress to your elbow's flexors and might slow down recovery and even cause additional pain and issues.
· Repetitive exercises. Multiple repetitive exercises involving your elbow and wrist are also best to be avoided. These can irritate the injury and prolong recovery.
It might be called tennis elbow, but the injury is common among swimmers and golfers because the risk of spraining the elbow muscles is high. So if you have a tennis elbow injury, you should avoid these activities while you're healing.
Besides sports, you should avoid such general activities that cause repetitive motions, which can slow down your recovery process.
This includes painting, working at the desk or computer for a long time, slicing food, using a screwdriver, etc.
It might be difficult to do that, so if possible, have family or friends help you with urgent house projects and preparing food while you're recovering.
Physical Therapy for Tennis Elbow
One of the best ways to speed up your recovery is to consult with your physical therapist, who will create an individual program for managing pain, reducing inflammation, and getting you back to your fullest.
The physical therapist will help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion. The most common modalities therapists use are massage, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, ice and heat, and others.
Tennis elbow injury is caused by a repetitive action with your forearm and wrist. While it is not an injury that usually requires a doctor's intervention, it still causes discomfort and pain.
The best course of action in treating tennis elbow is to rest, eliminate the repetitive motions, get help from a physical therapist and do tennis elbow exercises and stretches. Your condition should improve in about two weeks.
Contact Miracle Rehab Clinic to book your appointment and treat your tennis elbow as soon as possible.