Sports / Orthopedic

What Are Good Tennis Elbow Exercises?

Jan 3 2024

When it comes to tennis elbow exercises, it is important to know which ones are worth your time. That way, you can get back to doing what you love faster!

But what is tennis elbow?

If you’re feeling an ache where your forearm meets your elbow, it could be tennis elbow. And did you know you can get tennis elbow even if you’ve never picked up a racquet?

Tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is when the muscles and tendons surrounding your elbow begin to swell. This causes pain on the outside of the arm, where your elbow connects to your forearm.

In fact, tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis, an injury caused by inflammation of the tendon. Tendinitis is typically an overuse injury. Therefore, any frequent, recurring motion can cause this condition. Say the repetitive strokes of a tennis swing, perhaps?

Symptoms of tennis elbow include: 

  • Discomfort in the bony knob outside of your elbow
  • Pain that begins as a slight ache then worsens over time
  • Swelling and stiffness in your elbow area or throughout your entire arm
  • A spike of pain when lifting something heavy, straightening or bending your wrist or gripping an object

Besides racquet sports, weight lifting or jobs that require repetitive motions, such as typing, painting and cooking, can cause tennis elbow. Also, people over the age of 40 are most likely to develop the condition.

What are some exercises for tennis elbow I can do on my own?

With first rest and then warm-up exercises, tennis elbow can typically heal on its own.

Stephanie Schroeder, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in our Cincinnati market, is here with some strengthening exercises you can do to help reduce pain and promote recovery. 

Her tennis elbow exercises include:

  • Tapping each finger to your thumb
  • Starting with your palm facing up, then rotating it to face down
  • Working on wrist extension by slowly bending and rotating your wrist

We hope these tennis elbow exercises help you feel better! However, if your tennis elbow continues progressing, you will need to schedule an appointment with a health care professional, as advanced cases can require physical therapy, a steroid injection or using a splint or brace.

Learn more about tennis elbow as well as the physical therapy services we provide at Mercy Health. 

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Could my primary care doctor diagnose tennis elbow or do I need to see an orthopedic surgeon?
September 27th, 2017 | 8:28am

Mercy Health

In most cases, tennis elbow can be diagnosed by your primary care physician by performing an examination of the affected area and considering your personal and medical history. If advanced care is necessary, your primary doctor would refer you to an orthopedic specialist or surgeon for further treatment.
September 27th, 2017 | 9:05am

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