Tennis players, assembly line workers and commercial painters all have something in common. This is that they all move their elbows repetitively, which means they’re at risk of lateral epicondylitis. Lateral epicondylitis is the medical term for a condition more commonly known as tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow become inflamed. This issue can lead to pain and difficulty moving the elbow normally.
People have different options that can help them prevent tennis elbow. Two exercises in particular can be very helpful.
- Wrist extension
Strengthening the forearm muscles is an important step to avoiding lateral epicondylitis. One exercise that can help strengthen the forearm muscles is the wrist extension.
The wrist extension exercise requires two basic pieces of equipment: a flat surface and a weight. A table or countertop will work perfectly for the flat surface and a one-pound hand weight will provide enough weight for beginners. People who don’t have a hand weight can try using a soup can or a similarly weighted household object.
To get into the starting position for this exercise, place your right forearm on the table with your palm facing down. Then, you’ll grab your weight and slide your arm forward so that your hand and wrist are hanging over the edge. From this position, slowly curl your wrist upward as far as you can and slowly lower it back to the starting position. Continue to repeat these steps until you’ve completed 10 repetitions. After your first set of 10, take a brief break, and then try to complete two more sets of 10 extensions. Repeat all these steps with your left arm as well.
- Forearm twist
Another exercise that can help prevent tennis elbow is the forearm twist. This exercise is designed to strengthen the supinator muscles in your forearms. The supinators are responsible for twisting your forearm so the palm faces up.
For this exercise, you’ll need the same equipment as you used for the wrist extension. Starting this exercise will also involve resting your right forearm on the flat surface you’ve chosen, but you’ll want to grasp your weight at one end while your hand hangs over the edge of the surface palm-down.
Once you’re in this starting position, you’ll slowly rotate your forearm until your palm is facing toward the ceiling. Next, you should slowly twist the forearm in the opposite direction until you reach the starting position again. Your goal should be to complete three sets of 10 forearm twists with a short break between each set. Make sure you do this exercise with both arms.
Find more exercises and other options to prevent tennis elbow at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
Our physical therapists at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help you find many therapeutic exercises to prevent tennis elbow. We can also perform a complimentary screening to determine if you have issues that increase your risk of this injury. Our team is experienced in building personalized prevention and treatment plans for tennis elbow, which may include methods like:
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to start getting help with preventing or treating tennis elbow.