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Can Physical Therapy Treat Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow means you have swollen tendons in your arm, a condition that could be causing you pain in the outer elbow, wrist, and forearm. Tennis elbow is quite common among individuals that play sports like squash and tennis, hence the name. However, you can still get it from other activities that make you grip and twist your arm.

Often, the tennis elbow heals by itself with self-care means like icing, resting, and taking over-the-counter medication. If this does not work, your doctor could recommend physical therapy. This article gives details on how physical therapy can be beneficial for treating tennis elbow.

Why is Physical Therapy Good for Tennis Elbow?

Young tennis player visiting doctor
The goal of physical therapy in treating tennis elbow is to increase strength and flexibility in your forearm so you will never experience the same problem again. Your therapist might also give you advice on proper posture so you can change how you do activities that could be causing your elbow issues. Physical therapy is also meant to increase blood flow around the tendons that do not get a similar amount of blood and oxygen as other muscles.

The Therapy Session for Tennis Elbow

The session starts with your therapist reducing pain and then, later on, doing some exercises to strengthen your muscles. This step involves different things like muscle stimulation, tape, straps, and ice massage. When the pain is reduced, you can now get started with therapy exercises.

Physical Therapy Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Once the pain is reduced, it is now time to get to work to reduce tennis elbow symptoms. Your therapist should come up with a routine that works just for you. However, some of the most common exercises you may have to do include:

  • Wrist Extension

To do this exercise, take a dumbbell and hold it on your injured hand with your palm facing down. Rest your injured elbow on your knee as you sit down and extend your wrist outward. Tilt your wrist downward and back up. Repeat these steps several times.

  • Wrist Flexion

Wrist flexion is similar to wrist extension. The only difference is that you curl the injured elbow upward instead of downward. Repeat these steps several times, around 10 times should do. Stop when you feel your arm becoming weak.

  • Towel Twist

Sitting down on a chair, get a towel and hold it with both hands. Twist the towel in the same manner as you would when wringing water out of a wet towel. Repeat these steps several times around 10 times should do.

Can Physical Therapy Only Treat Tennis Elbow?

As seen, physical therapy can be good for treating tennis elbow. However, physical therapy alone cannot be said to be the only answer to healing this condition. Whether physical therapy will be effective for tennis elbow depends on the severity of your injury. This is why you may want to undergo a physical therapy assessment before a therapist starts working on you. They can accurately diagnose your condition and come up with a treatment plan that will best suit your injury and personal needs. For instance, if you are a professional tennis player, you may want faster solutions to your problem. However, if you picked up the injury playing for fun, then you may want to consider slower options that are less expensive.

What is the Best Treatment for Tennis Elbow?

If you want to get the best treatment for tennis elbow then you want to get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor. This is the only way that your condition will be properly assessed so you can get the best possible treatment for your condition. Many factors play a role in regards to the diagnosis such as the specific condition that you are facing. This is something that you should consider leaving to professionals so they can prescribe a good treatment for your tennis elbow. The time you take to recover from tennis elbow will depend on the kind of treatment prescribed to you and the severity of your condition.

Tennis elbow is a condition that happens when tendons on your elbow’s outer side are overworked because of overuse. It is quite common among individuals that play tennis, hence its name. If you happen to experience this condition, then you want to get a diagnosis from a doctor. If they recommend physical therapy, then exercises such as wrist extension, wrist flexion, and towel twist will be done on you to help you gain that strength and flexibility.