By Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS, Senior Director at Ivyrehab Briarcliff & Jefferson Valley
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) typically affects middle aged (40 to 60 years of age) adults and only 1 in 20 play tennis. If you have pain and/tenderness on the inside of your elbow, that is not going away it could be caused by different reasons such as improper techniques, poor physical conditioning, weight of the tennis racquet, too much tension on the strings of the racquet, balls are too heavy, type of court surface you are playing on and the grip size of the racquet. Other causes for lateral epicondylitis come from repeated forcible extension of the wrist such as using a screwdriver, heavy lifting and shoveling snow. Overuse of the muscles that extend the wrist usually has no pain at rest, but will increase with activity.
Treatment of tennis elbow focuses on relieving pain, controlling inflammation, promoting healing, improving local and general fitness and controlling force loads and repetitive movements with the wrists. Physical therapy uses a variety of modalities to relieve pain and decrease inflammation, massage and soft tissue mobilization techniques to heal the tissues. In addition, the following stretching and exercises are also recommended:
NOTE: the recommended stretching and exercises should not cause any increase pain. In the event that they do, you should stop immediately and consult with your physician.
● Forearm stretch:
Hold arm straight out, fingers pointed towards the floor. Use your opposite hand and pull the fingers towards the body until a stretch is felt. Hold 10 seconds, repeat 3 times.
Repeat same as above, but fingers are pointed towards the ceiling. Use the opposite hand to fingers towards you. Hold 10 seconds, repeat 3 times.
● Racquet stretch:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold your racquet at the top of its frame with the right hand behind your head. Grasp the grip of the racquet with the left hand and slowly pull the racquet down the back. Hold 15 – 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Switch hands and do in the opposite direction
● Scapular Stretch:
Cross the right arm in front of the left shoulder letting the elbow bend so that the hand droops over the left shoulder. With the left hand on the right elbow, push your arm in towards the back of the room. Hold for 15 – 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
● Arm overhead stretch:
Take your left hand over your head. Bend it at the elbow, so that your left hand is over your head near your right ear. Then take the right hand and push the left elbow with it more toward the right. Hold for 15 – 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times
● Hands behind the back stretch:
Grasp your hands behind your back while holding them at the wrist. Pull your left hand more towards the right and then do in the opposite direction. Hold 10 – 15 seconds. Repeat 2 -3 times
Recommended Strengthening Exercises
● Ball Gripping: Use a soft ball and repetitively squeeze to strengthen the forearm muscles. Do 100 – 200 times a day.
● Wrist curls: Support your forearm on a table and stabilize your wrist with your other hand. Hold a 1 – 2 pound weight and bring your wrist up toward the ceiling and then back down. Now turn your palm up and once again bend your wrist toward the ceiling. Do 10 times/ 3 sets. Increase in 1/2 pound increments.
● Broom – Handle Exercise: Take a stick and hang a 1 – 2 pound weight from a string to the stick. Keep the arms held out in front, with the palms down and attempt to roll the weight up and then back down. Repeat with palms up. Do 10 times/3 sets.
Call to set up a free appointment if you would like to attend this free Tennis Screening at Ivyrehab Jefferson Valley (914) 245-8807 on February 23, 2016 from 7:15-7:45 PM. In addition, if you would like to be seen right away for an injury or chronic pain under Direct Access (no prescription is required), contact us at or Ivyrehab Jefferson Valley (914) 245-8807 or Ivyrehab Briarcliff at (914) 762-2222. You can also visit our website at www.ivyrehab.com.
Ivyrehab accepts most insurance plans (which our office obtains pre-approval from your insurance carrier) and will submit your office visit treatments for payment. You will be responsible for your co-payment depending on your particular insurance policy.
With one-on-one care this permits the therapist to construct a personalized program for the individual. After all, when it comes to rehabilitation, “it’s all about the people”.
Free Sport Readiness and Injury Prevention Screening
Location: Inside Ivyrehab Jefferson Valley
February 23, 2016 at 7:15 -7:45 PM with Deborah Cohen, MSPT