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Leaflet: Tennis elbow

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Last updated: June 2018
Date of review: June 2020
URN: 245

Tennis Elbow exercises

There is very good evidence for the use of specific exercises to treat tennis elbow. These exercises are simple and quick to do and if done regularly will on average result in resolution of symptoms over 8 to 12 weeks.

1. While keeping your forearm resting on the table and wrist over the edge, use other hand to bring wrist back as the picture

2. Let go with other hand and ensure your fingers are gently tucked into you palm

3. Slowly allow your hand to lower down keeping your fingers gently tucked

The focus of this exercise is on control and smoothness of movement and should be painfree. A niggle that settles quickly after exercise is ok.

Repeat x 10 (up to 3 times) x 2 daily

Forearm stretch

After exercises stretch out as per picture below – sustain the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

You should also do this stretch at various times throughout the day when you feel your elbow or forearm tightening up.

* This exercise is a progression and should be started when the previous exercise is carried out in a pain-free, smooth and controlled motion.

Progression of this exercise will consist of increasing the load by gradually filling up the water bottle. Your physiotherapist will guide you through this process.

Repeat x 10 x 2-3 sets x 2 daily

What can be done to help?

Simple self-help treatment is often effective to clear up the pain and most cases settles in 2 weeks and you probably won’t need to see a doctor or a physiotherapist. Key to successful treatment is rest from aggravating activities.

• Avoid painful activities.

• Adapt painful tasks by eg. lifting with your palm facing up and elbow bent.

• Painkillers: paracetamol and ibuprofen taken regularly can allow you to continue being active.

• Anti- inflammatory gels rubbed into the painful area can also help relieve pain.

• Medication can have side effects so you should read the label carefully and check with your pharmacist or general practitioner if you have any queries.

• Ice or heat (applied 10-15 minutes at a time) may settle and give pain relief.

• Wearing a Tennis elbow “clasp” may help relieve discomfort and pain as well as allow the tissues to rest and recover.