In addition to rest and treatment, a tennis elbow injury also requires certain types of exercises to help the sore tendons and muscles heal and to prevent relapses. Performing these sets of exercises will help you relief pain from your tennis elbow injury and strengthen the muscle and tendons so you are more resistant and less prone to this injury in the future.
The stretching of the flexor and extensor muscles of the forearm helps prevent muscle imbalance.
1- Extend the wrist firmly with your arm stretched out, hold for 4 to 6 seconds and repeat 4 to 6 times. Repeat the same exercise, but this time flexing the wrist with the elbow in extension.
2- Stand and place your hands in a prayer stance in front of you. With your hands close to the body and palms always touching each other, move down to your waistline until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearms. Hold this position for 20 seconds and go back up again; repeat four times. *Tip: your arms should be parallel to the floor at the lowest point of the downward motion.
3- Stand and place your hands in a reverse prayer stance (palms facing away from each other). With your hands close to your body and the back of them always touching each other, move up toward your face until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearms. Hold for 20 seconds and move back down until your forearms are parallel to the floor; repeat four times *Tip: on the upward movement bring your elbows sky high for a more efficient stretch. With the correct exercise, complete guidance to help prevent recurrence of the condition is provided. The stretching of the hands is done as per the requirement so that it does not result in excessive pain for the patient. The time should be noted before starting the exercises.
4- Place your arm on a table with the hand hanging over the edge, fingers spread and thumb pointing upward. Lower your thumb until you touch the base of your pinky finger and close the rest of the fingers around your thumb. Next, move your wrist downward until you feel a stretch from your thumb to your forearm; hold for 20 seconds and repeat four times.
Once flexibility is recovered through stretching, include exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons.
Perform flexion and extension of the wrist holding a weight with your hand, the movement must be fast up and slow down. Perform two sets of 20 to 30 repetitions with each arm.
Grip exercises can be added squeezing a rubber ball, but limit it to 20 repetitions.
In some cases when the epicondylitis (tennis elbow) is not responding to treatment and exercise, surgery may be needed. The intervention is to release a portion of the tendon’s bony insertion; this reduces stress and allows improved vascularization of the tissues to facilitate healing.
After surgery you should continue performing stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent relapses. Usually full recovery is achieved after six weeks to four months.