Have you been overusing your wrist and arms daily? Are you an avid tennis player, or involved in a line of work that requires you to consistently extend and contract your arm? If so, you may be suffering from lateral epicondylitis, otherwise known as tennis elbow.
This painful condition can severely limit your range of motion and negatively impact your quality of life. Swollen and tender muscles located on the outside of your elbow is the main source of pain, and sometimes you may feel the pain radiating to your forearm or wrist. However, before starting invasive treatments such as medication or surgery, there are some easy exercises you can perform to reduce discomfort.
Common causes of tennis elbow
The main cause of tennis elbow is an overuse of the forearm muscles used to straighten and extend your hand and wrist. Repeated use of these muscles will result in tears and breaks in the tissue that connects the forearm muscles to the outer elbow, resulting in elbow pain.
In addition to tennis players, other professionals that are likely to develop tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, cooks, and carpenters. Again, this is because of the repetitive motions required to perform the work in these professions.
Exercise 1: Fist Clench
Apart from pain, another common symptom of tennis elbow is a lack of grip strength. This happens as a result of the damaged muscles in your wrist and forearm, which prevent you from grasping objects firmly or for an extended length of time.
The fist clench is an excellent tennis elbow exercise that you can do anywhere that will help build up your muscle and restore your grip strength. Simply take a towel or small ball and grip it in your hand. Place your forearm flat on a table and squeeze the towel or ball in your hand for at least 10 seconds. Doing this a few times and then switching to your other hand will help you build up muscle in your hands and restore your grip strength.
Exercise 2: Wrist Extension
Wrist extensions are a great exercise to help restore the range of motion in your wrist. The only pieces of equipment that you need to perform this exercise is a 2-pound dumbbell and a chair.
Once you are seated with your dumbbell firmly grasped in your hand, rest your elbow on your knee and slowly extend your wrist and curl it towards your body. You should repeat this motion at least ten times on each side to build up the muscles in your wrist.
Exercise 3: Towel Twist
The towel twist is another exercise to help address the damage caused by tennis elbow. To perform this exercise, sit in a chair and hold a towel in both hands. Next, twist the towel in opposite directions, repeating this motion at least ten times.
The goal of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles in your wrist and reduce any pain associated with tennis elbow. Continually performing this exercise, in addition to the wrist extension and fist clench exercises, is key to preventing pain and restoring muscle.
Work with a professional
If you’ve been struggling to perform the exercises above, or the discomfort from your tennis elbow has become severe, then it may be time to consult with a professional. The physiotherapists at Emerald Hills & Sports Physio Clinic, located in Sherwood Park, Canada, are ready to help!
After an initial assessment, your physiotherapist will perform some exercises with you and send you home with instructions for additional stretches and exercises. Call us today at 780-415-5500 or visit our website and fill out the contact form!