Exercises For Tennis Elbow
Contrary to its name, tennis elbow affects more than those who enjoy the sport.
Tennis elbow is the common name for a type of tendonitis. It can be characterized by pain, swelling and restricted movement affecting the muscles and ligaments outside of the elbow joint (that can extend down the forearm and the wrist).
In most cases, elbow tendonitis is a self-limiting condition, which means it will get better on its own without the need for in-clinic treatment. However, when dealing with elbow pain, the meantime can be excruciating and can dramatically restrict your function.
In this article, we’ll discuss the common causes of this injury and walk you through some tennis elbow exercises you can do at home to help manage your recovery.
The Common Causes of Tennis Elbow
The most common cause of tennis elbow comes from the joint’s overuse, straining the muscles and tendons that support the forearm and wrist movement.
Everyday activities such as typing, carrying heavy groceries, or falling asleep with your arms bent can be enough to throw out your elbow, but the pain should go away on its own with proper rest.
People who play racket sports, lift weights, do manual labour, and have hobbies that involve repetitive motions in the forearms and wrist, such as knitting and painting, are also more likely to develop tennis elbow.
Along with plenty of rest, applying ice to the swollen area, here are tennis elbow exercises you can do at home when the pain strikes.
Exercise #1: Fist Clench
One of the tennis elbow symptoms is poor grip strength due to the strained muscles on the top of your forearms.
This fist-clenching exercise can help strengthen the long flexor tendons in the fingers and thumb to improve your grip strength and ease the pain away from your elbow.
Steps for fist clench exercise:
- Sit at a table with your forearm resting in front of you.
- Hold a rubber ball or tennis ball in your hand and squeeze. If you find that you can’t place a hard enough grip on the ball, you can use a sponge or a rolled-up hand towel instead.
- Try holding the grip for 10 breaths and slowly release.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Exercise #2: Wrist Extension
Your wrists’ movements are supported by the same forearm muscles that join at the extensor tendons around the elbow.
These tennis elbow exercises also help improve your forearm muscles’ strength to support your elbow better.
Steps for wrist extension exercise:
- Sit at your table with your forearm resting on the surface and have your wrist at the edge of the table with your palm facing down.
- Slowly, lift your closed fist, lifting the knuckles to the sky. To add more resistance, you can hold a 1 lb. or 2 lbs. dumbbell.
- Bring your knuckles back to face forward slowly, and repeat up to 10 times.
Exercise #3: Towel Twist
This is another easily accessible exercise to help improve forearm strength and wrist flexibility. All you need is a hand towel.
Steps for towel twist exercise:
- Roll up a hand towel lengthwise and hold both ends of the towel with each hand like you’re about to wring it out of water
- Whether you’re sitting or standing, make sure your back is straight, and your shoulders aren’t tensed up beside your ears. Keep them relaxed.
- Begin wringing the towel by twisting each end in opposite directions, isolating the movement in your wrist and forearm,
- Complete 10 reps
Get Rid Of Tennis Elbow Pain
Most tennis elbow injuries will completely resolve with rest and some strength and flexibility exercises like the ones we recommend here.
However, if you feel sharp pain or your tennis elbow persists or reoccurs, we encourage you to book an appointment with Impact Physio & Sport Clinic today. Our physiotherapy team can take a closer look at your lifestyle and movement habits and pinpoint areas where you can improve your motions to prevent injuries.
Book an appointment with us today if you need more help managing tennis elbow or any other aches or pains.