Physical Therapy Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Drew Morcos, Founder

Tennis elbow. It’s like that tricky serve that catches you off guard, causing discomfort and impacting your game. But fear not, because physical therapy is here to return the serve and help you manage it effectively.

The Opponent: Understanding Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis as the medical folks call it, is a condition characterized by pain in the outer part of the elbow. It’s like a pesky opponent that refuses to back down, causing discomfort during the simplest of tasks like lifting a cup of coffee or shaking hands.

This condition is commonly seen in individuals who engage in activities that involve repetitive motion of the arm and wrist, like playing tennis. But don’t let the name fool you; you don’t have to be Roger Federer or Serena Williams to experience tennis elbow. It can affect anyone, from painters to plumbers.

The Game Plan: Role of Physical Therapy

So, how do we tackle this opponent? The answer is physical therapy. It’s like having a world-class coach by your side, guiding you through the healing process. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with tennis elbow and strengthen your muscles to prevent future injuries.

The process involves a series of exercises designed by our physical therapists in Newport Beach, CA, to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your elbow. It’s like a training regimen tailored to help you overcome your injury and return to your daily activities without pain.

The Warm-Up: Preparing for Physical Therapy Exercises

Before we dive into the exercises, let’s talk about the importance of warming up. Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles and improves flexibility, reducing the risk of injury.

Simple warm-up exercises like arm circles and gentle wrist flexes can help prepare your muscles for the physical therapy exercises. Remember, it’s not about how fast you can do these exercises; it’s about doing them correctly and safely.

The Match: Physical Therapy Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Now, let’s step onto the court and explore some physical therapy exercises that can help manage tennis elbow. These exercises will help you regain control over your elbow and return to the game.

  1. Wrist Extension Stretch: This exercise focuses on stretching the muscles on the outside of your forearm, which can become tight and painful with tennis elbow. To perform the wrist extension stretch, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently bend your wrist back, feeling a stretch in the forearm. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other arm.
  1. Wrist Flexion Stretch: Now, let’s switch to the forehand swing. The wrist flexion stretch targets the muscles on the inside of your forearm. Start by extending your arm in front of you with your palm facing your arm. Use your other hand to gently bend your wrist downward, feeling a stretch in the forearm. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other arm. You can also use a table to place your forearm for support. 
  1. Tennis Ball Squeeze: Let’s put our focus on grip strength now. This exercise targets the muscles in your forearm responsible for gripping and can help strengthen them. Hold a tennis ball or any soft, squeezable object in your hand and squeeze it as hard as you comfortably can without causing pain. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise for 10-15 repetitions on each hand. It’s like mimicking the action of gripping the racket, building up your forearm muscles to withstand pressure. 
  1. Towel Twist: This exercise works both the muscles on the inside and outside of your forearm, providing a balanced workout. Start by holding a small towel or cloth between your hands. With your elbows bent at 90 degrees and close to your sides, twist the towel in opposite directions, creating tension. Repeat the same in the reverse direction.

Remember, these exercises should be done under the guidance of a physical therapist to ensure proper form and prevent further injury. Your physical therapist will provide individualized instructions and may incorporate additional exercises or tweak existing ones tailored to your specific needs. Just count on them and play by their rules.

The Winning Shot: How MOTUS Can Help

Tennis elbow might be a tough opponent, but with physical therapy, you have the winning strategy to tackle it. Remember, it’s not just about managing the pain; it’s about strengthening your muscles and getting back in the game stronger than ever.

At MOTUS, we are all about helping you hit the winning shot against conditions like tennis elbow. Located in the beautiful Newport Beach, CA, we offer a range of physical therapy services tailored to your unique needs.

Our team of experienced physical therapists led by founder Drew Morcos will guide you through the exercises and ensure you’re doing them correctly.

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