Lateral epicondylitis is the technical term for “tennis elbow” or elbow tendonitis.
Ironically, most people who experience this injury don’t play tennis. People of all walks of life can experience tennis elbow from tasks such as carrying heavy objects, working at a computer or even sleeping in an awkward position.
Tennis elbow is an injury that describes elbow pain outside of the elbow joint and the tendons surrounding the muscles, that allow wrist extension.
The pain you’re feeling at the elbow joint, which sometimes radiates down to the wrist, results from inflammation and degeneration of the tendons that support the elbow and wrist movements.
Luckily, most tennis elbow goes away on its own and with a bit of rest.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the common causes of tennis elbow. We’ll also review some at-home stretches and exercises that can help you manage your tennis elbow and alleviate your pain.
Common Causes of Tennis Elbow
The most common causes of tennis elbow are either the overuse of the forearm muscles from a sport or repetitive workplace movements, such as using certain construction tools or typing at your keyboard for long hours.
However, tennis elbow can also occur from everyday activities — such as carrying heavy groceries or suitcases for long periods of time.
For some patients, elbow tendonitis can even arise from sleeping with our elbow bent throughout the night.
Some symptoms of tennis elbow include:
♦ Pain on the outside of the elbow that can radiate to the outside of the arm
♦ Limitation of motion
At Home Tennis Elbow Exercises
Tennis elbow pain should alleviate on its own. However, there are some exercises that can help strengthen the supporting muscles to reduce pain and increase your range of motion. These include:
Wrist extension exercises
One easy way to alleviate soreness and pain in the elbow is through wrist exercises.
The first is a wrist extensor stretch.
To do this, straighten your arm out in front of you with your palm facing down. With your opposite hand, gently pull on the back of your hand around the knuckles to feel a stretch through the top of your wrist.
You can change this stretch’s resistance by turning your raised hand pinky-side down and hold for about 10 slow breaths.
This shouldn’t feel painful — rather, it should feel like a nice, deep stretch.
Next, let’s hold a wrist extension.
Rest your forearm flat on a table with your hand extended off the edge of the table at your wrist, palm facing down.
With your free hand, apply pressure to the back of the hand. You’ll start to feel your forearm muscles fire up to combat resistance. Hold this for 10 slow breaths and repeat three times.
We can progress to the next exercise, still seated at your table with your forearm resting.
Let your hand rest over the edge of the table, and slowly bring your hand up. You can use your free hand to open up the palm and stretch your wrist and hold.
To set this exercise up, you want to sit at your table with your forearm resting.
Hold a small ball in your hand, clench your fist, squeeze the object, and hold it for 10 slow breaths.
You should feel the muscles on your outer forearm activate.
Repeat this exercise up to 10 times.
Imagine yourself wringing out a wet towel. This is the motion you’re going to be doing for this exercise.
Roll up a hand towel lengthwise, with a hand at each end.
With your shoulders relaxed, hold out your arms in front of you and twist your wrists in opposite directions to wring the towel out.
Repeat 10 times in one direction and then again 10 times in the opposite twisting direction.
If you feel any numbness or tingling doing these exercises, stop immediately. You don’t want to cause any more damage to the area by pushing too far past your limits.
The Takeaway: Managing Tennis Elbow
The usual treatments and rehabilitation for tennis elbow involve:
♦ Reducing physical activities that involve extensive use of the joint
♦ Some at-home exercises to help rebuild some strength and flexibility to the surrounding muscles
Contact Integra Health Today
For more severe elbow tendonitis cases, we suggeest visiting a therapist for in-clinic treatments that may involve hands-on manipulation and acupuncture, massage and prescribed exercises to reduce the need for surgical treatments.
Schedule an appointment to get tennis elbow relief today by calling your trusted therapists at Integra Health Care.