Tennis elbow exercises are an important part of rehabilitation and can help prevent tennis elbow from recurring. Here we explain the stretching and strengthening exercises to recover from Tennis elbow.
The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting any rehabilitation.
Tennis elbow stretching exercises
Stretching exercises for tennis elbow should be performed gently and as soon as pain allows. They should be maintained throughout the rehab program and continued even when the injury has healed.
Tennis elbow/wrist extensor stretch
- The arm is placed in front with the hand pointing down.
- Pull the hand towards the body to feel a stretch in the back of the wrist, forearm, and elbow.
- The forearm can be rotated inwards to increase the stretch which will be felt more on the outside of the elbow.
- The stretch can be held for 20 seconds and repeated up to 5 times.
Tennis elbow strengthening exercises
Strengthening exercises for tennis elbow should only be performed pain-free. It is better to wait a bit longer to introduce strengthening exercises than to begin them too soon. If you notice any adverse effects or pain either during, after, or the next day, then rest some more and take a step back.
Isometric wrist extension
- The best way of contracting the muscles isometrically (or statically – no movement) is to get a partner to resist your movement.
- Position the arm with the forearm and palm facing downwards and supported if possible.
- Attempt to extend the wrist by lifting it back as if trying to point the fingers to the ceiling.
- Maintain the contraction for 5 seconds. Rest and repeat 10-15 times.
- There should not be any movement at the wrist joint.
Finger extension with elastic band
- Bring all your fingertips together as if making a beak shape.
- Place a rubber band over your fingers, holding the tips together.
- Move your fingers away from each other against the resistance of the band. Repeat this 10-20 times.
- This is one of the more common tennis elbow exercises.
- When isometric exercises can be completed comfortably without pain then you can move on to dynamic exercises.
- This may be from 5 days onwards. Do not rush. If the injury becomes painful, take a step back.
- Dynamic extensor tendnonitis exercises involve movement. They can be performed using a lightweight (about 1 kg). Move the wrist from flexion to extension. Start with 1 set of 10 repetitions daily and build up gradually up to 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
- The same exercise can be performed using a resistance band.
References & further reading
- Fairbank SM, Corlett RJ. The role of the extensor digitorum communis muscle in lateral epicondylitis. J Hand Surg Br 2002;27B(5):405–9.
- Milz S, Tischer T, Buettner A et al. Molecular composition and pathology of entheses on the medial and lateral epicondyles of the humerus: a structural basis for epicondylitis. Ann Rheum Dis 2004;63(9):1015–21.
- Coombes BK, Bisset L, Vicenzino B. A new integrative model of lateral epicondylalgia. Br J Sports Med 2009;43(4):252–8.
- Pienimäki T, Karinen P, Kemilä T et al. Long-term follow-up of conservatively treated chronic tennis elbow patients. A prospective and retrospective analysis. Scand J Rehabil Med 1998;30(3):159–66.