Tennis elbow, which is also called lateral epicondylitis, is a classic repetitive strain injury. The muscles and tendons on the back of your arm and the outside of the elbow responsible for lifting the wrist and fingers can become inflamed, irritated or exhausted due to overuse. This injury is common among those who play racquet sports, thus the name “tennis elbow.” However, it’s also a commonplace work-related injury, particularly among painters, plumbers and even those with jobs that involve heavy computer usage.
If you’ve been diagnosed with tennis elbow, you’re likely well aware of the associated pain and burning that occur on the outside of the elbow along with weakened grip strength. Your doctor has probably provided you with conservative treatment measures to reduce your pain and inflammation, such as rest, ice and NSAIDs like ibuprofen.
Once pain and inflammation have been decreased, there are a few simple yet effective exercises you can use to manage the uncomfortable symptoms associated with tennis elbow. Here are seven tennis elbow exercises and stretches that you can do from the comfort of your own home to treat your pain.
Muscle trigger points, or muscle knots, are often a factor in tennis elbow. Rhythmic stretching can work out and stimulate affected muscle groups. Try these:
Wrist extensors and wrist flexors are groups of muscles that connect into the elbow and are often subject to overuse, which leads to pain and inflammation. The Towel Twist exercise works both groups of muscles. Here’s how it works:
Tennis elbow often causes poor grip strength. By working the long flexor tendons in the fingers and thumb, you can build these muscles and improve your ability to perform daily activities. Here’s how:
This exercise works the muscles responsible for bending your wrist, called wrist extensors. Although small, these muscles — which connect into your elbow — are also subject to overuse. Follow these steps:
The wrist flexors work opposite your wrist extensors. This exercise works your flexors, which also connect into the elbow:
This exercise works the supinator muscle — the large muscle in your forearm attached to the elbow, which gives you the ability to turn your palm upward:
Some patients experience surprising pain relief effects by performing this stretching technique, which puts the tendon under tension:
If you’re struggling with pain or discomfort around your elbow, you could have tennis elbow. We invite patients living in or near Bethesda, MD, to contact OrthoBethesda online or give us a call at (301) 530-1010. Our top team of orthopedic specialists will assess your condition and help you come up with a treatment plan.