Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is pain or injury to the tendons in the forearm, largely due to overuse or repetitive motions. Resting the tendons and avoiding overuse is one of the best ways to ease tennis elbow pain.
Exercises can also help speed up the recovery process and prevent future struggles with tennis elbow, as they will strengthen the forearm and the surrounding muscles and tendons. Visit a physical therapy clinic or talk to a physical therapist about what exercises might be right for you. They can walk you through how to perform them correctly, modify exercises as needed, and monitor progress throughout.
Here are some recommended exercises to help ease tennis elbow pain.
- Wrist Turn
First, bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Flex the hand outward, palm side up. Then, twist the wrist around until the palm side is down and hold for five seconds. Repeat this motion ten times. Do three sets of ten for the best results.
- Wrist Turn – Add Weights
This exercise is the same as the above wrist turn but with added weights. Grip a light weight, such as a dumbbell or can of food, and repeat the motions above.
- Wrist Lift
Again, bend the arm at a 90-degree angle and extend the hand, palm up. With a small weight in your hand, such as a light dumbbell or can of food, bend the wrist towards your body and hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times and do three sets of ten.
- Wrist Extensor Stretch
Stretch the arm out straight from the body with the palm facing down. Slightly bend the hand down and then slowly, with your other hand, stretch it downwards towards the body. Hold this stretch position for 15 to 30 seconds and then slowly release the wrist. Repeat for a total of three stretches. Do two sets of three wrist extensor stretches.
- Wrist Extensor Flex
Stretch the arm out straight from the body with the palm facing down. This time, use the other hand to pull the fingers upwards towards the body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Straighten out the wrist and repeat two more times. Do a total of two reps of three stretches.
- Elbow Bend
Stand up straights with arms to the side. Slowly bend the injured arm upward until it touches the shoulder and holds this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this motion nine more times.
- Towel Twist
Roll up a towel loosely and hold it lengthwise in your hands with one end in each hand. Relax the shoulders and begin twisting the towel in opposite directions as if wringing out water from the towel. Repeat this motion for a total of ten reps. Then, switch the direction of the wringing motion for another ten reps.
- Fist Squeeze
Make a fist around a ball-like object, such as a rolled-up towel, socks, or tennis ball. Grip the object and squeeze tightly for ten seconds. Repeat nine more times.
Tennis Elbow Prevention
Resting the arm is the best way to alleviate tennis elbow pain, but if total rest is not an option, slight arm movements can help calm symptoms. Engaging in these suggested exercises will strengthen the tendons and muscles to prevent future instances of tennis elbow.
Always consult a medical professional before performing specific exercises to ensure that the activities will be helpful and not exacerbate any underlying conditions or injuries. If practices worsen symptoms, continue to rest the arm, apply ice regularly, take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and talk to a physical therapist about a treatment plan.
Schedule an Appointment with an AICA Orthopedic Specialist
If the pain does not subside within two weeks, it is recommended that you see a doctor. Orthopedic specialists at AICA Orthopedics can assess the injury and prescribe treatment options to best ease the pain. Regular physical therapy or occupational therapy can improve range of motion and reduce pain. Steroid injections may also be recommended for pain relief. Your specialist may also recommend wearing a brace to restriction motion until symptoms have eased up. Our knowledgeable specialists will ensure that you receive specific and direct treatment for tennis elbow pain relief. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.