Tennis Elbow Exercises
Tennis elbow is an injury to the outside tendons and muscles. This will occur from overuse and repetitive movement. The point of pain is where muscle and tendons insert into the bone of the elbow. Once tennis elbow is allowed to heal, exercises can help prevent it from becoming a chronic condition. These exercises are also help before injury occurs to prevent tennis elbow.
Exercises for tennis elbow will help strengthen weakness so that the elbow isn’t strained to compensate. The exercises can be used as a preventive measure also. Continuing with exercises will prevent tennis elbow from becoming chronic.
Before starting any exercises for tennis elbow, it’s important to allow tennis elbow to heal. A sign that exercises can begin is that pain is no longer present or there is very little pain. Exercises should never be started when there is pain, inflammation, or restricted movement from stiffness.
To aid in relieving the symptoms of tennis elbow and be able to start exercising as soon as possible, follow the RICE (rest-ice-compress-elevate) principle when injury first occurs.
The advantages to the RICE
- Reduce pain
- Decrease inflammation
- Encourage healing of the tissue
- Muscle atrophy retardation
Exercising improves flexibility, endurance, and strength.
- This gentle stretching exercise will improve wrist flexion, extension and rotation also. Start with extending the elbow without flexing it to increase the amount of stretch as required. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. This stretching exercise for tennis elbow can be repeated 5-10 times and done at least twice a day. Avoid stretching to the point of pain and reproducing your symptoms.
- Prayer stretch is a simple exercise. Put palms together in front of the chest with fingers together. Fingers should be just under chin. Keeping palms together, lower hands towards waist, stopping when you feel a mild stretch under forearms. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 4 times.
- Controlled stretching will prevent stiffness from tennis elbow. Exercising the wrist can be done by gently bending, straightening, and rotating it.
- Place hand on table with palm up. Start with touching the pinky finger to the thumb. Repeat in order with each finger. Repeat this cycle 20 times.
- Place forearm on thigh. Make a light fist and rotate wrist. Repeat a full circle rotation 20 times in each direction.
- Place hand on thigh with the palm down. Flip hand so that palm is facing up. Repeat this tennis elbow exercise 20 times.
- Weights-Before starting this exercise warm up with exercise that works up a light sweat. The elbow can be warmed directly with a heating pad. This is very important preparation to avoid re-injuring the elbow. If needed, where a brace while you do this exercise. With the elbow supported and palm up, bend wrist up as high as possible, hold this position for 2 seconds and then slowly unbend wrist and lower it. Start with no weights. Do a set of 10 to 15 reps (repetitions) per day. If there is no pain and you are tolerating the exercises, increase to 30 reps. If it is still tolerated add 1-pound hand weights and begin again at 10-15 reps working up to 30 reps. Repeat and gradually increase weights to 3-pound weights.
- Hand squeeze-put a tennis ball in the palm of your hand. Firmly squeeze the ball firmly and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat until the muscles tire, but not to the point of pain. If at first this is to difficult, use a foam ball to build strength and then return the tennis ball for this exercise.
Strengthening and stretching
- Both can be done at the same time with a rowing machine. Have a physical therapist or sports trainer instruct you on proper use to avoid straining neck and/or back muscles while performing this tennis elbow exercise for the muscles around the elbow.
After exercise session, apply ice for about 10-20 minutes. Never exercise to the point of pain. If pain occurs, modify the exercise by reducing reps, range of motion, and/or weights. Tennis elbow exercises can be performed at a slowed pace to prevent pain, also. Another important hint is to be sure the elbow is receiving adequate rest between stretching, flexing, and strengthening tennis elbow exercises.