Try These Stretches to Avoid Elbow Problems

Elbow pain can result from general wear-and-tear of the joint, particularly repetitive movements like painting, swinging a golf club, or returning volleys in tennis. Overuse overwhelms the joint’s soft tissue, bones, and muscles. 

Regularly stretching the area around your elbow can help prevent elbow problems associated with overuse. These exercises may also help you recover if you have a diagnosis like lateral or medial epicondylitis, or tennis/golfer’s elbow

Here are some stretches that our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists recommends to help you avoid the pain, inflammation, tenderness, and reduced mobility associated with this condition. 

Finger stretch

For this exercise, you need a rubber band. It helps you stretch your gripping muscles.

Touch all your fingers to your thumb and encircle with a rubber band, including your thumb. 

Slowly open your fingers completely, then close them. 

Repeat 25 times, up to three times a day. If it becomes too easy, use two rubber bands. 

Wrist flexor stretch

This stretch is most noticeable on the underside of your forearm. Start by extending your affected arm out in front of you. Turn your hand so your fingers and palm face up.

Use your opposite hand to press on the insides of your fingers and palm and push them down toward your body (bending your wrist backward in the process).

Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat two to five times total. 

Wrist strengthening and stretch

Use a 1-pound dumbbell for this exercise or a small water bottle. Place your forearm on the edge of a table, allowing the wrist to hang over the edge. 

Hold the weight in your hand with your palm facing up, then raise and lower your hand slowly. 

Keep your arm on the table as just your hand moves up and down at the wrist joint. Do about 10 repetitions. 

Other ways to prevent elbow problems

In addition to stretching, try strengthening your forearms with actions like squeezing a tennis ball off and on for about five minutes a day. Poor grip and wrist strength make your elbow work harder than it should, putting it at risk of injury. Light weight training is also a good idea. 

If you do play a sport like tennis or golf, get feedback from a coach about your form. Proper form helps prevent overload on the muscles and other soft tissue at the elbow joint. 

Drink lots of water to keep your soft tissue hydrated and flexible. And if you do play sports, always warm up before your main set. This gradually raises your body temperature, getting your joints and muscles ready for movement. 

Seek help if you have elbow pain

At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we’re available to help if you do suffer an elbow injury. Make an appointment if you have pain that doesn’t improve with rest and time. Symptoms that should cause concern include: 

We offer physical therapy, therapeutic injections, pain medications, and other noninvasive treatments to help your elbow heal. If your elbow doesn’t improve with conservative treatments, you may need surgery.

Contact us at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists if you are suffering a recurring or persistent elbow injury. Call our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland office.

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