Caused by a strain to the tendons in your forearm, tennis elbow can cause serious pain in your arm with tenderness in the elbow. It is called tennis elbow, but anyone other than tennis players can get this injury by putting repetitive stress on the muscles around the elbow. If your job involves decorating or heavy lifting, you may end up developing a sore elbow.
When the pain is severe, you might need to take certain pain relievers and other medications. For mild cases, you should simply avoid repetitive movement of the hand and elbow and perform some strengthening and stretching exercises for tennis elbow to resolve the issue. What you should bear in mind is that not all exercises will help improve your situation – only the ones specific to your injury will help produce positive results.
Exercises for Tennis Elbow
When you have a sore elbow, you will have to take a break from the activity that has caused it in the first place. At the same time, you will have to perform stretching as well as strengthening exercises to relieve the pain and return to your normal activities.
1. Sock or Ball Squeeze
- Get a rolled-up sock or a tennis ball. Hold it in your hand firmly.
- Use your strength and squeeze the ball hard in your fist.
- Hold this position for about 6 seconds and relax. Repeat the same after 10 seconds.
- Do this exercise for 8-12 times.
2. Forearm Pronation and Supination
- Hold a dumbbell in your affected arm and stand with feet shoulders width apart.
- Raise your arm slowly until it becomes parallel to the floor.
- Rotate your wrist with your thumb pointing upwards until it points downwards.
- Do it for ten reps and repeat thrice every other day.
3. Wrist Deviation
- As one of the exercises for tennis elbow, to perform it, first sit on a chair with arms. Place your arm on it with your hand hanging off the edge.
- Change the position of your hand as if you are shaking hands with someone.
- Slowly move your hand up and then move it down.
- Do it for 8-12 reps.
4. Forearm Extension
- Raise your affected hand out in front of you until it becomes parallel to the ground.
- Slowly rotate your wrist as if you are pouring out a glass of water. Rotate until your thumb points down.
- Bend your wrist a little and use your other hand to grab the fingers of your affected hand and pull them lightly.
- Stop when you feel a stretch in your forearm and hold the position for about 30 seconds.
- Repeat the same at least two times every other day.
5. Isometric Wrist Extension
- Keep your arm in a position that your palm and forearm are facing downwards. Find something for support, if necessary.
- Slowly extend your wrist by lifting it back – try to point your fingers up until you feel some contraction.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10-15 times for a good stretch.
6. Hammer Curls
- Stand in a relax position with shoulders down and feet shoulders width apart.
- Grab a dumbbell in the hand of your affected arm. Maintain a neutral grip with palm facing your body.
- Raise the dumbbell as if you are using a hammer. Be sure to bend your elbow until it makes a 90-degree angle with your biceps.
- Lower it slowly and do 10 reps. Repeat thrice every other day to get desired results from one of the best exercises for tennis elbow.
7. Finger Extension
- Move your fingertips together in a way that tips of all fingers touch each other – you will be making a beak shape with your fingers.
- Get a rubber band and place it over your fingers with fingertips close together.
- Slowly move your fingers away to an extent that you feel some stretch.
- Do 10-12 reps.
8. Wrist Curls
- Sit in a comfortable chair with armrests. Place your forearm on the armrest with your hand hanging off the edge. A table will also work.
- Hold the dumbbell in your hand and raise your wrist while keeping your palm up.
- Slowly raise the dumbbell and then lower the weight slowly. Keep your palm facing up and use a weight you can easily handle.
- Do 8-12 reps.
- Repeat the same procedure with your palm facing down this time. Do 8-12 reps again.
9. Drawing the Sword
- Grab a resistance band and stand with your feet shoulders width apart.
- Grab the band in your affected hand and move it up as if you are drawing a sword.
- Start the movement with your thumb facing down and finish with your thumb facing upward.
- Be sure to lift your affected arm upward and outward toward the ceiling.
- Do 10 reps and repeat 3 times every other day.
10. Tricep Stretch
- Start with your arm bent behind your back.
- Use your other arm to put some pressure on the elbow of your bend arm until you feel a light stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and relax.
- Repeat thrice every other day.
In addition to these exercises for tennis elbow, you may also consider giving your sore elbow a gently massage to improve circulation and reduce stiffness. Use your two fingers to apply firm pressure on the area of pain and then rub it for 5 minutes. Just keep in mind that although these exercises work great to improve strength and flexibility of your forearm, you may want to avoid them if your symptoms become worse. You should talk to your physical therapist and tell them about whatever exercises you have been doing already. Always follow your doctor's advice to avoid aggravating your injury.