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Exercises for ‘tennis elbow’

3 Feb 2021

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by a repetitive activity that lays stress on the elbow. Although common in racquet sports, it can also be seen in workplace injuries, particularly among painters, carpenters, and plumbers.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, typical signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and burning on the outside of the elbow and weak grip strength. The first steps in treating tennis elbow are reducing inflammation and resting the irritated muscles and tendons. Ice and compression may also help reduce inflammation and pain. 

Once inflammation subsides, you can begin gentle exercises to strengthen the muscles of the forearm and prevent recurrence. Be sure to check with your doctor to determine when you are ready to begin therapy exercises.

Consider these exercises:


Fist clench

  • Sit at a table with your forearm resting on the table.
  • Hold a rolled up towel or small ball in your hand.
  • Squeeze the towel in your hand and hold for 10 seconds. 
  • Release and repeat 10 times. Switch and do the other arm.


Supination with a dumbbell

  • Sit in a chair holding a 2-pound dumbbell vertically in your hand with your elbow resting on your knee. 
  • Let the weight of the dumbbell help rotate the arm outward, turning the palm up. 
  • Rotate the hand back the other direction until your palm is facing downward.
  • Repeat 20 times on each side. 
  • Try to isolate the movement to your lower arm, keeping your upper arm and elbow still. 


Wrist flexion

  • Sit in a chair holding a 2-pound dumbbell in your hand with your palm facing up and elbow resting comfortably on your knee or on a table top.
  • Keeping your palm facing up, flex your wrist by curling it towards your body. 
  • Return to starting position and repeat 10 times on each side. Then change position of hand – palm facing downwards.
  • Try to isolate the movement to the wrist, keeping the rest of the arm still. 
  • The same can be performed without a dumbbell, too.


Towel twist


  • Hold a loosely rolled-up towel lengthways, with one hand at each end
  • Keep the shoulders relaxed
  • Twist the towel by moving the hands in opposite directions, as if wringing out water
  • Repeat nine more times
  • Then repeat ten times. twisting the towel in the reverse direction


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