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Do You Need Physical Therapy for Tennis Elbow?


Tennis Elbow is a condition often resulting from overuse of the muscles and tendons in the elbow, often triggered by repetitive motions.


Physical Therapy treatment For Tennis Elbow is not always required; however, in more severe cases, tennis elbow rehab significantly speeds up recovery, and can even be done at home!


Many people ask if Tennis Elbow can recover on its own. The answer is, many cases of Tennis Elbow may be resolved with rest and over-the-counter pain medication; however, Physical Therapy will significantly strengthen the muscles, prevent the condition from returning and ensure that it is resolved quicker.


Physical Therapists will utilize targeted physical exercises for tennis elbow to help improve flexibility and strength in the forearm muscles, as well as educate on proper body mechanics and movements that can help resolve the leading cause of your Tennis Elbow for the long term.


Indications and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

  • Radiating pain from your elbow to your wrist.

  • Weakness or stiffness in the elbow.

  • A feeling of pain when completing daily tasks (which may include opening doors, opening jars, or holding items.

Exercises for Tennis Elbow:

Below is a list of exercises our Physical Therapists recommend for Tennis Elbow Therapy, that you can try yourself at home.

Extension Isometrics - Wrist

  • Place your forearm on a table (sitting or standing), with the palm facing down.

  • Place your other hand on top of the wrist of the first hand.

  • Push up the extended wrist while resisting the movement with the top hand.

  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat after releasing slowly.


Ball Squeezes

  • Grab a tennis ball or stress ball.

  • Squeeze hard without causing pain.

  • Hold that squeeze for a few seconds and release slowly, then repeat.

Step 1:

Step 2:


Tricep Stretches

  • Lift the affected arm over your shoulder and bend to touch your upper back.

  • Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm as needed.

Hammer curls

  • Using two small weights, one in each hand, and your palms facing your body,

  • Curl the weight towards your shoulders.

  • Lower slowly

  • Repeat several times, slow and controlled.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Forearm Flexor Stretch

  • Place one arm in front of you, palm facing up

  • Use your other hand to slowly pull the fingers of the extended arm towards you.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat.


While these exercises can be done at home, it is important to seek treatment as early as possible if determined to regain strength and improve the condition sooner rather than later. If effective treatment is not sought, tennis elbow may linger longer than desired.


SHOULD YOU CONTINUE TO PLAY SPORTS WITH TENNIS ELBOW?

  • If you utilize an elbow brace, it is ok to continue playing sports with tennis elbow; however, you should still modify and reduce your activity level.

  • Taking additional rest breaks and focusing on stretching before and after is highly recommended.

  • It is also recommended to ice the area post-workout, or after partaking in sports.

CAN TENNIS ELBOW BE PREVENTED?

In order to prevent tennis elbow, it is vital to focus on strengthening forearm muscle extensors and avoiding overuse. While many individuals assume tennis elbow derives solely from playing Tennis, that is not the case. This condition arises from various factors including repetitive motions and overuse of the elbow, forearm, and wrist (for example, plumbing, painting, screw driving, cutting up ingredients or frequently moving around your computer mouse at work).


OUR THOUGHTS

Tennis elbow is a common injury caused by overuse of your wrist and forearm. While it might not need immediate medical attention, it is recommended to seek professional help from a Physical Therapist as soon as possible, as it can still cause pain and discomfort if not properly managed or treated.


The best immediate response for tennis elbow is to begin rest, avoid overuse and repetitive motions, and focus on the above stretches. If your symptoms do not improve in 1-2 weeks, you are experiencing significant discomfort or pain, or simply want to avoid Tennis Elbow, we recommend seeing a Physical Therapist who can cater a specific program tailored to your lifestyle.


How A Physical Therapist Can Help

  • Work to identify the movements and imbalances that caused the condition.

  • Tailor a curated exercise plan to strengthen muscles.

  • Promote flexibility to reduce and minimize the strain being applied to the muscles.

  • Educate individuals on proper techniques to empower patients to maintain an active pain-free lifestyle without injection or surgery.

Contact Personal Care Physical Therapy to book your In-Home Physical Therapy appointment.


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