Tennis Elbow Exercises and Stretches

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TOP 7 TENNIS ELBOW EXERCISES

Introduction | Symptoms | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment + Exercises | Prevention Strategies
Do You Know What Tennis Elbow is?

Tennis elbow exercise helps you to deal with this painful tennis elbow. It is a medical condition of pain and tenderness of the outer part of the elbow. Most of the time this recurring pain takes away all the peace of life. As it is the worst chronic pain, so I want you all to take care of yourself and read this article for all the best exercises that will help you to ease the pain.

It is a Repetitive strain injury (RSI) that occurs when tendons of the elbow become inflamed or partially injured/tear due to overuse over some time. Tendons are tough fibrous bands of connective tissues made up of collagen fibers and used for bone attachment muscles. LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS is another term used for tennis elbow and is familiar as lateral elbow pain. It’s a painful condition in which tendons that connect forearm muscles to the lateral part of the elbow become irritated due to overuse syndrome. Is your occupation involving several repetitions of your arms/elbows? Do you feel any pain at your lateral side of the elbow? If you feel any pain and your job involves many repetitions, you are prone to tennis elbow.

Why is this called TENNIS ELBOW?

This painful tendinopathy condition is called tennis elbow because half of the tennis players become affected by this condition in their career due to the overuse of elbow in the external position. Furthermore, the functions of the involved muscles in this irritating condition extend and lift fingers and wrist, respectively.

What are the significant causes of Lateral Epicondylitis?

This condition is not mainly occurring due to tennis play, but there are tremendous causes that lead to this painful condition.

Overuse

This is the most common cause in which extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle (ECRB) of the elbow and extensor digitorum become irritated and inflamed, ultimately lead to the pain syndrome of the elbow. Overuse and repetitive activities of these muscles increase the wear and tear process in the muscle.

Activities

Many recreational activities increase the risk of developing Tennis elbow like:
Painting
Plumber working
Autoworkers
Chefs/cooks
Driving screws

 Do you know about risk factors for lateral epicondylitis?

Certain factors increase the risk of having this painful condition.

Age

Lateral epicondylitis incident is high in adults between 30 and 50 years of age, but it can occur at any age.

Occupation

Workers like chefs, carpenters, plumbers are the most effected occupations because these jobs include repetitive and overuse work of elbows and wrist.

Sports

In individual sports, if players use poor playing skills, they have a high chance of getting a tennis elbow, such as racket sports.

Significant Symptoms Related to Tennis Elbow (Tendinopathy)

Lateral epicondylitis is a chronic condition that increases in severity over a prolonged period. Initially, pain is dull and mild, which becomes worsens over weeks and months.

The most common symptoms include

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Both hands can be affected equally by lateral epicondylitis. Still, the right hand’s chance is more remarkable because we use the right hand for repetitive activities or do any work most of the time.

What should be the effective examination strategies for lateral elbow pain?

Doctors made a confirm diagnosis based on

  • symptoms severity in patients
  • any previous medical or surgical history
  • mode of recreational activities
  • type of occupational work

By some Physiotherapy tests, for example, gentle pressure is applied at the lateral epicondyle area for checking the severity of symptoms, i.e., pain and swelling.

  • Radiological investigation
  • X-rays
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging Scan)
  • EMG (Electromyography)
Do you know treatment strategies for lateral elbow pain?

There are generally two methods of treatment
1. Non-Surgical / Conservative
2. Surgical

Conservative approach

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In this approach Role of Physical therapy or exercise is essential.

Various techniques are used in Physiotherapy, including:
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Muscle stimulating techniques
  • Exercises
  • Medications
    What is the goal of Physical Therapy?

Physiotherapy is a conservative method for treating Lateral elbow pain, which may radiate to the forearm and wrist. The primary goals of Physiotherapy are:

  • Pain management
  • Improvement in range of motion by increasing strength and flexibility of elbow and forearm muscles
  • Increase blood flow to affected tendons and muscles

    Role of Tennis Elbow Exercises

    One of the best tennis elbow exercises used for reducing symptoms in “Lateral elbow pain” is an isokinetic eccentric exercise or therapeutic eccentric exercise (TEE). Clinical researchers at the Nicholas Institute for Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma suggested a beneficial bizarre tennis elbow exercise mode using a rubber bar to reduce pain intensity at the elbow.

Benefits of TEE (Therapeutic eccentric exercise)

The best tennis elbow exercise are therapeutic eccentric exercises which are in general called strengthening and stretching exercises. Let’s see its benefits :

  • The hypertrophied tendon becomes reshaped or remolded
  • Increase in the lengthening of the muscle-tendon complex
  • The tensile strength of tendons also increased by performing eccentric exercises
  • Agonist and antagonist modification occurs with the structural and functional benefit of the muscle-tendons complex

List of strengthening Tennis Elbow Exercises

For the treatment of pain we can use series of following tennis elbow exercises to improve our grip and muscle functionality.

1. Fist clench

For improving grip strength
Grip strength weakness is the most common symptom associated with tennis elbow. The primary purpose of this tennis elbow treatment exercise is to strengthen the muscles and long flexor tendons of fingers and thumb using equipment like a towel and a table.

How to perform Fist clench exercise?

  • Sit at a couch with your effected arm resting on your front table
  • A rolled towel or a ball hold in your hand
  • Try to squeeze and hold for about 10 seconds

Release the towel and repeat this minimum of 10 times

2. Wrist Flexor Stretch

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  • The first step in performing this tennis elbow treatment exercise is to raise your arm horizontally in front of your body while palm facing downward
  • Bend your wrist upward gradually and pull your fingers back by using the unaffected hand
  • Maintain this position for 15-30 seconds, then relax your wrist in extension and repeat

    3. Wrist Extensor Stretch

    Wrist extensor Stretch

  • Raise your arm horizontally in front of your body
  • Relax your wrist in hanging position downward and pull your hand more downward towards yourself by using the unaffected hand
  • Maintain your position 15-30 seconds while feeling stretch at the top of your arm then relax your wrist and repeat

    4. Towel Twist

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  • For this tennis elbow treatment exercise, take a rolled-up towel and put it in your hands. Each hand should be at each end of the towel.
  • Shoulders should be in a relaxed position
  • By moving your hands in the opposite direction, twist the towel as water wringing out from the towel while washing

Repeat this tennis elbow exercise 5 times.

5. Ball Squeeze

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  • Take a tennis ball or rolled-up sock in your hand
  • Make a fist around the ball and press it
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax
  • Repeat this tennis elbow exercise ten times

    6. Biceps curls – 

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  •  Firstly, straight your elbow, hold a small weight in your hand
  • The injured elbow should be supported by the other hand
  • Then, gradually flex your elbow towards your chest
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then repeat

    7. Finger Stretch with a Rubberband

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  •  Firstly, for this tennis elbow treatment exercise,  take a rubber band and place it around your fingers and thumb
  •  Then make your hand in a fist position
  • Gently try to open your fingers and thumb against the resistance of the hand. Regular exercises should be performed twice a day to further preventing the return of the pain. By taking precautions pain reliefs over several weeks. Before starting the tennis elbow treatment exercise program, it is compulsory to consult a doctor about the type, number of sets, and exercise frequency.
What should be the prevention strategies?

Those who are suffering from tennis elbow and now recovering must keep doing all these tennis elbow treatment exercises to strengthen muscles and keep them functional. It will help you in long term and keep your forearm healthy and active. Also, take care of the following instruction for better results:

  • Repetitive activity for a prolonged period should be avoided.
  • Take intervals of rest while doing work
  •  Briefly, perform exercises at regular basics by using proper techniques

BY AQSA ILYAS

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