7 Physical Therapy Exercises For Tennis Elbow


7 Physical Therapy Exercises For Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow occurs when the muscles and tendons that attach the forearm to the elbow become inflamed. The condition is usually caused by repetitive motion and overuse. This type of tendinitis doesn’t just occur in tennis players. It can plague painters, plumbers and weight lifters. Although ice, steroid injections, compression, anti-inflammatory medications, and other physical therapy services can soothe the situation, you might want to learn some physical therapy exercises that will help you heal and regain the full function of your arm.


Many of the motions that contribute to tennis elbow involve the supinator muscle. This muscle allows you to twist your forearm to face your palm up or down. You can strengthen it using a light dumbbell.

Grab a 1 or 2-pound dumbbell, and sit on a chair that allows your knees to extend parallel to the floor. Rest your elbow on your knee. With that hand, grip the dumbbell vertically in your palm. In other words, you’ll be holding onto one end of the dumbbell.

Without moving your elbow or upper arm, rotate the dumbbell up and down. Repeat the movement 20 times with each hand. You can do this without the dumbbell if the weight is too much.

Wrist Extension

The muscles that you use to bend the wrist connected to the elbow. Overuse of the wrist could contribute to tennis elbow. Gently strengthen these muscles with wrist extensions.

Hold a 1 or 2-pound dumbbell in one hand. Rest that elbow on your knee. Face your palm toward the floor.

Try to keep your arm still while flexing your wrist up and down, as though you’re making a “stop” motion with your hand. Repeat this movement 10 times with each hand. You can also do this movement with the palm facing up.

Towel Clench

Even though you probably feel pain in and around your elbow, the rest of your arm is often affected by this condition. You might even experience weak grip strength if you have tennis elbow.

Restore optimal function by strengthening your grip. This exercise works the long tendons in the fingers and enhances the muscles in your forearm.

To do the exercise, rest your forearm on a table with your palm facing up. Grip a small, rolled-up towel or a tennis ball. Squeeze the towel or ball with your fingers. Hold it clenched for 10 seconds. Then, relax your fingers. Repeat this motion 10 times with each hand.

Elbow Bend

This motion doesn’t require any dumbbells or equipment. Stand with your arms at your sides. Bend the elbow, bringing the hand up to meet the shoulder. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Slowly relax the arm, extending it downward again. Repeat this motion 10 times.

Wrist Extensor Flex

This stretch feels great even when you don’t have tennis elbow, but it’s particularly effective for stretching the soft tissue that contributes to tendinitis. It’s a great way to regain function in your fingers and arms if you spend the day typing or gripping tools or have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Raise one arm out in front of you. Keeping the elbow straight, start with your palm facing down. Slowly bring your hand up so that the palm is facing forward. Use your other hand to gently pull on the fingers of that palm. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.

Then, release your palm, straightening it out again. Repeat the motion five times.

Towel Twist

Twisting a towel in your hands allows you to work the supinator muscles. It also helps restore the range of motion in your elbows.

To perform this move, roll up a hand towel lengthwise. Hold one end in each hand in front of you. Keep your elbows bent, and hold the towel up so that it’s not resting on your lap.

Relax your shoulders, and twist the towel by turning each hand in alternate directions. The motion should look as though you’re wringing water out of the towel. Twist your hands in the other direction. Repeat this 10 times.

Vertical Towel Twist

You can perform the towel twist exercise while holding the towel vertically instead of horizontally. Roll up the towel as you did for the previous exercise. Then, stack your hands so that one is above the other. Twist your hands as though you’re wringing water out of the towel.

If you have tennis elbow, you might need to rest the muscle before performing exercises. Check with your physical therapist before engaging in the movements listed here.

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