Physio Exercises for Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is caused by a strain in your forearm and is usually the result of a sports injury – hence its name.  The good news is that it’s usually easily treatable and you can expect the pain in your forearm to subside within a fortnight.  The best advice is to avoid strenuous or repetitive elbow movements. There are a number of ways of treating tennis elbow at home.  You can try alternating ice and heat treatments.  You can also take over the counter painkillers to help take the edge off of the pain.  Many people find that anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or aspirin are the most effective. It’s also a good idea to undertake gentle strengthening and rehabilitative exercises.

Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Elbow Bend

Stand in a relaxed position with neutral posture, arms at your sides.  Slowly bend one arm upwards until your hand is touching your shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat ten times.

Wrist Flex

Hold your arm out in front of you with your palm facing down. Gently bend your wrist downwards.  Push downwards on the back of your hand with your opposite hand to increase the stretch.  Hold for 15 – 30 seconds. 

Now, straighten your wrist and stretch your hand the other way by flexing it backward and upwards.  Use the opposite hand to push your fingers backward in the direction of your body.  Hold for 15 – 30 seconds.  Perform three sets.

Wrist Lift

Bend your elbow at a right angle to your bicep, palm upwards holding a lightweight such as a tin of beans.  Bend your wrist slowly towards you.  Hold for five seconds and then release.  Do three sets of ten repetitions.

Wrist Turn

Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle to your bicep, palm upwards.  Gently and slowly rotate your wrist until your palm is facing downwards.  Hold for five seconds and then gently release and return to the start position.  Repeat five times.

Weighted Wrist Rotation

This is the same movement as the Wrist Turn but with a little added weight.  Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle to your bicep, palm upwards, holding a lightweight.  A tin of beans is about the right size and weight. Slowly turn your wrist so that your palm is facing the floor.  Hold for five seconds and then slowly return to the start position.  Repeat five times.

General Advice about Exercising

It’s important to take things slowly after you’ve sustained an injury. When performing the above exercises, always proceed slowly and carefully paying attention to any warning pains.  Never strain and remember that it’s fine if you can’t perform all the repetitions, to begin with – you can work up to this gradually. Even after your injury is healed it’s a good idea to continue your physiotherapy exercises – this will strengthen your joints and protect you from injuries in the future.  If your pain intensifies, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

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