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  • Buffalo Niagara PT

Tennis Elbow Exercises

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

Lateral epicondylitis, also known as "Tennis Elbow", is the most common overuse syndrome in the elbow. It is a tendinopathy injury involving the extensor muscles of the forearm. Contractile overloads that chronically stress the tendon near the attachment on the humerus are the primary cause of epicondylitis. It occurs often in repetitive upper extremity activities such as computer use, heavy lifting, forceful forearm pronation and supination, and repetitive vibration.

Lets start by checking the shoulder with repeated extension mobilization in standing. Place you thumb down on a counter. With the arm straight lunge the body downward extending the shoulder. Pause 3 seconds at the bottom and repeat 1-3 sets of

10 reps.

Next let's check and treat the elbow for mobility restriction. Place the hand on a counter and use the opposite hand to push your elbow into straightening. Pause 3 seconds at the straightest point tolerable and repeat 1-3 sets of 10 reps.

Next let's check and treat a radial nerve mobility restriction. Place the body and arm against a wall. Bend the wrist forward keeping the thumb, wrist and elbow against the wall. Now sliding on the wall bend and straighten the elbow and raise the arm height as you go along. Pause 3 seconds at the top and repeat 1-3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Now lets brace the tendon, the sore spot on a door frame pushing in with the opposite hand. Hold this position and slowly make a fist, perform 12-15 reps holding each for 3 seconds. Turn the wrist over more each time toward moving the palm toward the floor.

To heal the tendon lets next use eccentric lowering. With your hand at the edge of the table as shown, lift the weight upward with 2 hands. Slowly lower the weight for a 4 count, raise up again with 2 hands and repeat 12 times with a weight that is challenging but does not increase the pain.

Repeat this program 5-7 times per week and follow with 15-20 minutes of ice. Manual physical therapy has been demonstrated to have great benefit for treatment of tennis elbow if you are slow to improve.

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