Tennis Elbow Rehab

Our Tennis elbow rehab program is created by elite level sports physiotherapist Paul Tanner. It takes you step-by-step from injury to full fitness. It is suitable for both acute and chronic injuries.

Tennis elbow rehab introduction

This program is suitable for anyone with either acute or chronic Tennis elbow related pain. Most cases end up as chronic injuries, developing gradually over time. Tennis elbow is not specific injury or diagnosis in itself, but a term describing pain on the outside of the elbow.

We recommend seeking professional advice if you are not sure of your injury, or if this program is suitable for you.

How does it work?

The full program is app based. It tells you exactly what to do each day and records your progress. So you need to download our Sports Injury Rehab App to access all content and features.

The Tennis elbow rehab program is criteria based, not timeline. You begin at phase 1 and progress through phases 1 to 4 at your own pace. Only move to the next phase when you have reached the ‘Exit criteria’ of your current phase.

What equipment do I need?

Whilst the program is designed to be done at home with very little specialist equipment, we recommend the following:

  • Hot & cold therapy wrap
  • Exercise resistance bands
  • Tennis elbow support/brace

Phase 1 Tennis elbow rehab

Phase 1 begins as soon as possible after injury. The aim here is to reduce pain and inflammation with the emphasis on rest and treating your symptoms. However, there are a few exercises you can do during phase 1.

Treatment

To be done daily:

Rest

Complete rest, avoid lifting or gripping things with your painful arm.

Cold therapy & compression

Apply ice or a cold therapy compression wrap for 10 minutes every 2 hours initially. Reduce to 3 times per day as your symptoms improve.

Tennis elbow brace

Wear a Tennis elbow brace or support to reduce the load on your elbow. Try to wear it all the time initially. Again, as your symptoms improve wear it only if you have to use your arm for work etc.

Mobility & stretching exercises

Perform stretching exercises throughout the day.

Lateral extensor stretch

Hold for 3 x 10 – 15 secs, repeat up to 3 times per day.

Place your arm in front with your hand pointing down. Keeping your arm straight, pull your hand towards your body. You should feel the stretch at the back of the wrist, forwarm and elbow.

Increase the stretch by rotating your forarm inwards.

Activation exercises

Can be done daily. These exercises aim to keep surrounding muscles firing and improve posture.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Hold for 5 secs, 3 sets of 8 reps.

The aim of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles which stabilize the scapula or shoulder blades. This is a great general exercise for the early phases of Tennis elbow rehab. In sitting with elbows by the side, you squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold for 5 seconds.

Posture

4 x 30 secs

Sit up nice and tall, and pull your shoulders back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold your head up, imagine that a balloon is tied to your head and is lifting it up. Hold position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times.

Conditioning exercises

These are optional, not directly relevant for Tennis elbow rehab but important for keeping your general fitness up.

Work on your lower limb strength. Use this as an opportunity to focus on other areas. You can also swim or run as long as it is not painful. However, avoid cycling because you have to grip the handlebars.

Phase 2 Tennis elbow rehab

The aim of phase 2 is to gradually increase the load through your Elbow. It compromises:

  • Cold therapy
  • Bracing
  • 1 mobility exercise
  • 2 strengthening exercises

Check the Exit Criteria to see when you can progress to phase 3.

Phase 3 Tennis elbow rehab

The aim of Tennis elbow rehab phase 3 is to further increase the load through the tendon in an increased range. It comprises:

  • Cold therapy
  • Massage techniques
  • Bracing
  • 1 mobility exercise
  • 2 strengthening exercises

Check the Exit Criteria to see when you can progress to phase 4.

Phase 4 Tennis elbow rehab

The aim of phase 4 is to further increase the load through the tendon using eccentric exercises. It compromises:

  • Cold therapy
  • Massage
  • Bracing
  • 2 strengthening exercises

By the end of phase 4 you should be completely pain free and back to normal activities. However, chronic elbow pain often recurs so we advise you to maintain some of the exercises as part of normal training. Also, don’t be afraid to go back a level if you need to.

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