Elbow tendonitis or some of it’s
more common names “tennis elbow” , “golfer’s elbow”,
or “construction elbow” is a deliberating condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people each year. While
on average 25-30 percent of tennis or racquet sport players are affected by tennis elbow, it should be noted that “tennis
elbow” is not limited to lovers of the racquet sports. From a sports perspective tennis players, golfers, baseball players,
basketball players, boxers, swimmers, and quite a few other sports can all develop “tennis elbow”. From and everyday
perspective any type of repetitive stress and strain can lead to the development of “tennis elbow” or some form
What exactly is elbow tendonitis?
The elbow joint is a hinge joint that allows for flexion (bending) and extension (straightening) movements. Elbow tendonitis can occur as a result of injury, repetitive use,
or due to aging as tendons loses elasticity. Generally tendonitis occurs because the extensor tendons of the forearms get over used. This overuse causes
micro traumas to the outside bony area where the muscle and tendons of the forearm attach to the elbow. This in turn causes
inflammation and pain in that area. While pain and inflammation in the area can be quite problematic, the bigger problem is
tennis elbow is thought to be a degenerative problem of repetitive use. Without getting to medical term heavy on you, this
area is called the lateral epicondyle. The actual doctor’s term for tennis elbow would
be lateral epicondylitis. When the same process happens to the inside of the elbow it is called medial epicondylitis for the
medial epicondyle. Sometimes this same type of injury can also happen to the back of the elbow, resulting in what is called
posterior epicondylitis (although this seems to involve the tricep muscles and tendons more than the forearms).
General symptoms for Elbow Tendonitis-
· A few general symptoms to look for with
elbow tendonitis are:
· Pain on certain parts of the elbow, depending
on where your tendonitis occurs
· Pain when lifting or grasping objects
· Pain radiating down the forearm
· Pain usually occurs in the dominate arm
of about 75% of sufferers
· Possible swelling or bruising around injured
· Trouble straightening or flexing your arm
Tendonitis and rehab methods-
Now that we have some insight on what elbow tendonitis is, let’s look at some measures that can take to rehab
elbow tendonitis. Two of the best ways to help with elbow tendonitis are thru stretching and muscle development of the muscles
of the wrist,lower biceps, and forearms.
Stretching is important because stretching relaxes the tendon and loosens the muscles of the arm. The amount of stretching
you do will be limited by the amount of inflammation you may have and actual muscle tightness. As these two things decrease
you should try to increase the range and time of your stretching.
Here are a few helpful stretches for elbow tendonitis. Each stretch should be held for
20 to 30 seconds with a rep of five to 10 times, twice a day.
This stretch will stretch
out the Lateral Epicondylitis (the muscles on the outside of the forearm and
elbow). This will help to work out and relax these muscles and tendons. This
stretch involves having the hand open or closed and stretching the palm down towards the forearm. The stretch can be deepened
with overpressure from the opposite hand.
This stretch focuses on the Medial Epicondylitis (the muscles on the inside of the forearm and elbow). Perform the stretch by pulling the back of the hand or stretching it towards
the top of the arm. A gentle pull or stretch should be felt on the inside of the forearm.
ExtensionsThis is a great exercise for
really stretching the forearm tendons simply by using rubber bands.
Take a thick rubber band and wrap it around all your
five fingers. Without causing too much pain straighten your elbow out as far as you can. With the rubber band around your
finger try to straighten and spread your fingers. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then relax. Try to do between 5-10
repetitions. For more resistance you could use two or three rubber bands.
· Ball Squeeze
One of the most important parts of releasing forearm and elbow tension is to build up grip strength. The Ball Squeeze
is great for helping improve grip strength and mobility. Get yourself a tennis ball or hard rubber ball. Grip the ball in
the palm of your hand. Squeeze the ball until you can't any further. Hold the squeeze for 3-5
seconds. Release the squeeze until the ball retains it’s normal shape. Try and perform 5-10 repetitions.
To go along with a good stretching program there should be some strength building exercises to build up the strength
and endurance of the forearm muscles. Strengthening the muscles of the forearm and upper arm will stabilize the elbow reducing
stress on the tendons.
FlexionsPlace your outstretched forearm with your palm facing up across
a table. Curl your fingers up and lift your wrist up off the table. This exercise can be performed with a barbell, dumbbell,
or resistance bands. Slowly lift upward to the count of five, then lower to the
count of five. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
Place your outstretched forearm with your palm facing
down across a table. Curl your palm downward till you feel your forearm flex to the count of five, curl your wrist up and
backwards till you can’t anymore for a count of five. This exercise can also be performed with a barbell, dumbbell,
or resistance bands. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
This exercise is not only great for building strength but also muscle endurance. Here is a great exercise that you can
do at home or in the gym. All you need is about 4 or 5 feet of rope, a piece of pipe about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide
and a weight attached at the end. You could also invest $10-$15 and buy a wrist roller from Walmart or a sporting good store.
With your arms outstretched and wrist roller in hand begin to roll your wrist until the rope rolls up around the pipe. Once
the rope has rolled up around the pipe roll the rope back down till the rope is fully outstretched again. Repeat several times.
Set a goal to eventually do it ten times or more.
Grip Negative Curls
The reverse grip negative curl not only helps develop and strengthen the forearms and biceps, by focusing on the negative
portion of the movement you really force the muscles and tendons
to perform under a content tension. The key to really make this exercise work well is to stretch the negative out to ten seconds
Acing the tendonitis-
Elbow tendonitis is really painful and inhibiting for many people. It places a real strain on muscles and tendons near
the elbow joint, causing a lack of strength, mobility, and sometimes a great deal of pain. The good news is there are ways
to make things a lot better. By incorporating some good stretching and strength building exercises in your normal routine
you could be back in the swing of things before you know it!