Tennis Elbow Treatment and Exercises
Updated: Feb 20
Have you had elbow pain (or maybe you do right now?) and thought that you might have tennis elbow? Maybe you just assumed you had tennis elbow because you have elbow pain. It’s also confusing because tennis elbow Tennis Elbow Treatment and Exercise is rarely caused by tennis. It can be from lifting, golf, gripping, typing, or any other number of activities. In this blog, we will try to clear up what tennis elbow is, how to know if you have it, what to do about it, and some tips to try and prevent it.
What Does Tennis Elbow Feel Like?
Tennis elbow is the common name for tendinitis of the tendons on the outside of your forearm. That means that if you have tennis elbow the pain should be on the outside of your elbow. By outside, we mean the side of your elbow that’s on the thumb side of your palms are by your side and facing forward. If you have pain on the inside of the elbow you might have what’s called Golfer’s Elbow rather than Tennis Elbow. You probably will have pain with gripping, lifting, shaking hands, opening jars or just holding objects. The pain may travel to your forearm or maybe slightly above your elbow.
Tennis Elbow Exercises and Stretches
Like most tendon injuries, your exercises will be a combination of stretching and strengthening. At the beginning stages of your injury, you should make sure to stay away from pain during exercise. As you start to recover, some mild discomfort is OK as long as it doesn’t get worse as you continue.
Wrist Extension Isometrics
A simple exercise that can be effective at pain relief and is the beginning of strengthening. Only push as hard as you can without pain.
Eccentric Wrist Extension
This is a progression of strengthening from your isometrics. Again, use a weight that isn’t painful and as you get stronger add 1 pound at a time.
Tennis elbow often starts because of issues at your shoulder and shoulder blade. This exercise is a great way to strengthen both.
Physical Therapy for Tennis Elbow
Treating tennis elbow, like recovering from any injury, isn’t as simple as paint by numbers. What worked for your neighbor or nephew might not be what you need to get back on top of your game.
Since every tennis elbow is different, your pain can be caused by a number of different reasons including training errors, weakness of your elbow, weakness of your shoulder, lack of wrist mobility, tightness at your neck, and the list can go on. Physical therapy is effective at identifying exactly why your pain started, and then developing a plan to get you out of pain and back to exercise or your sport if that’s your goal.
Treatment for your elbow pain with us will likely consist of some combination of exercise, hands on treatment (manual therapy), education, dry needling, blood flow restriction strengthening, recommendations on exercise, and possibly other options depending on your individual elbow.
Tennis Elbow Prevention
Since tennis elbow can be from different causes such as tennis, golf, typing, and any number of activities, it can be difficult to always prevent your elbow pain from happening. Having said that, there are a number of ways to reduce the chances.
Make sure your equipment fits properly. Tennis rackets or golf clubs that are too thin or narrow frequently contribute to elbow pain.
Have your desk set up properly with your wrists supported when typing. This can reduce stress on your elbows.
Hopefully, that clears up tennis elbow and gives you an idea of how physical therapy might be able to help. If you think you might have tennis elbow, or want to know more, we’d be happy to have a quick call about your pain. Our experts will be able to guide you on what the next step should be for you.