Tennis elbow is a repetitive strain injury caused by the overuse of forearm muscles. The ruptured tendons give you pain in the elbow and wrist.
This condition is common among players of racquet sports, such as tennis, squash and even rock climbing. However, you can develop it in workplaces too. Painting, plumbing, or any other profession that requires excessive arm motion can be a breeding ground for tennis elbow.
Physical therapy goes a long way in healing soreness. Specific stretching exercises can revitalize hand mobility by increasing blood flow to the upper extremity. And the strengthened muscles also resist reinjury.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery mentions fragile grip strength and burning outer elbow as the main symptoms. You might face severe strain while shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or playing backhand strokes!
Mostly, self-care with over-the-counter medicines is an effective cure for tennis elbow. A little rest, ice massage, and consumption of NSAID can reduce inflammation at the earliest stage. Besides, you’ll benefit by committing to the following exercise plan.
The following activities have proven advantages in recovery from a tennis elbow injury. It’s better to consult a professional therapist before kicking off your workout. Make sure to do exercises correctly once the tenderness subsides.
Tennis elbow can weaken your grip to the extent that holding a cup might seem exhausting. You need to stimulate response and strength. Therefore, welcome your day with a soothing finger stretch.
- Put your hand palm-down on a flat surface.
- Start stretching your fingers against the table.
- Hold them intact for one minute before retracting.
Repeat up to five times with both hands. Try wrapping a rubber band around your thumb and fingers if it gets too easy. Then, gently spread and clench them 20-30 times. Athlete-grade grip strengtheners are ideal for this exercise.
Fist squeeze is also a constructive exercise. It mobilizes flexor tendons of your fingers and thumb responsible for the handgrip. You would require a table and some soft object like a towel, putty, or bouncy ball to give it a whirl.
- Rest your forearm at a flat surface with elbow bending at 90⁰.
- Hold and squeeze that balled-up soft object in your hand.
- Keep the joints firmly closed for 10 seconds, then release.
Go for 15 reps at a time. You can switch to fist squeezes right after stretching your fingers since the setting remains unchanged.
A group of muscles controls the wrist movement, known as extensors and flexors. The former ones help us crooking the wrist. Tennis elbow affects them, making it difficult to open food packages and caps.
- Extend your arm with your palm facing down and fingers pointing towards the floor.
- Use the other hand to pull it towards the body until you feel a moderate stretch in the forearm.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds, straighten the wrist again, and repeat twice.
Do three sets with each hand alternatively. You can go on to use a 2-pound dumbbell while curling the wrist.
Flexors are touted as the contra muscles of extensors. The overuse of these muscles radiates pain in the arm-elbow juncture. This exercise follows an identical pattern as the previous one.
- Raise the arm straight again in front of you while your palm is facing up.
- Use another hand to bend the fingers similarly, so a mild stretch springs in your inner forearm.
- Hold it for 10 seconds, return to the original position, and do it again.
Exercise your flexors as much as the extending tissues. You can flex with dumbbells as well. In any case, restrict the movement to wrists only.
First, you should warm up your elbows. Place your hands (in a claw gesture) at temples, and then shut your elbows in front of your face. Meanwhile, it’s crucial not to disturb standing posture. Now you’re all set to use resistance bands.
- Stand in the middle of the band with knees bent and feet slightly apart.
- Grab both ends while palms are facing outwards – raise hands gradually.
- Twist your arms towards your shoulder as much as they comfortably go.
Lower your hands to the starting position. And repeat 15 times. You can also carry out this exercise while sitting on a chair.
Tennis elbow preludes weak forearms. They’re used in a variety of sports and mundane activities. Although the exercises above can help your recovery, high pulley cable rows can expedite this process.
- Hold the bar at your shoulder level with elbows tucked beside your torso.
- Pull the weight down until your arms are fully stretched.
- Pause for a moment, then let the pulley roll back.
Generally, three sets of 10 reps are recommended. However, you can omit this exercise if your muscles are already aching or swelling. Also, you should take a break of 8-12 hours between sessions.
What to Avoid?
If you’re diagnosed with tennis elbow, modify your home stretch regimen for the time being. You should skip any activity that stresses your elbows, wrists, and forearms. Otherwise, the situation may aggravate and cause chronic pain.
Upper body strength training, TRX workout, delt raises, and straight arm exercises can also hamper the treatment progress.
No Pain, So You Gain!
Tennis elbow is one of many sprains you can successfully treat at home. Give your arms plenty of rest and ice compression to get rid of the injury. Exercising the affected area also aids in recovery and minimizes the risk of recurrence.
The suggestions in this article suit the majority of patients. But tailor the plan according to your situation. If ten reps hurt, start with five. And if the daily workout is troublesome, cut down the practice to four days a week!
Nonetheless, you should see a doctor if the pain persists. A doctor might prescribe steroid injections, a supportive brace, ultrasound, or even surgery, and you should not push for exercise if the doctor advises against it. Even if you’re not able to do your daily workouts or travel around with your tennis elbow injury, stay productive and keep a positive mindset!