As part of a
tennis elbow rehabilitation program, exercise and
physical therapy may promote
tendon healing, restore normal range of motion, and
build muscle strength and endurance.
Your doctor or physical therapist can develop a home program that
will help restore your elbow movement and prevent further injury. He or she
will explain each exercise, including the correct technique and number of times
you should repeat each movement.
The spine, or backbone, is made up of small bones (vertebrae) stacked -- along with discs -- one on top of another. A healthy spine when viewed from the side has gentle curves to it. The curves help the spine absorb stress from body movement and gravity.
When viewed from the back, the spine should run straight down the middle of the back. When abnormalities of the spine occur, the natural curvatures of the spine are misaligned or exaggerated in certain areas, as occurs with lordosis, kyphosis, and...
Exercises to build or maintain good fitness are important for
your recovery. Walking, cycling, water aerobics, jogging, and other aerobic
exercises can increase your heart and lung fitness and increase general
strength and endurance, without making your injury worse. These activities also
increase blood circulation; increased circulation supplies the injured tendon
with more oxygen and may promote healing.1
Appropriate exercises for stretching, strengthening, and
increasing your endurance are vital to your recovery.2
Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend the best stretching and
strengthening exercises for your condition.
There are several different types of physical therapy. Some
Learning new techniques and using different
equipment for activities to help prevent further injury
Ultrasound applied over the tender area is commonly
recommended, although there is little evidence to support its use. The theory
is that this deep heat increases blood flow and tissue flexibility, and may
decrease pain and muscle spasms. (Therapists don't often use ultrasound therapy
Electrical stimulation, or
transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS),
which involves a mild electrical current that travels through electrodes placed
at nerve trigger points. The objective is to mask pain signals sent by the
brain to the body. Its effectiveness has not been proven.
over an inflamed area, which may reduce the formation of scar tissue and help
new blood vessels grow in the damaged tissue. Massage is done by making small,
firm circles over the injured area. It should not be painful and may be helpful
before and after exercises.
Manual therapy (sometimes called body
work) uses just the hands to cause relaxation, lessen pain, and increase
flexibility. Besides massage, manual therapy includes manipulation to position
joints and bones. Mobilization is another form of manual therapy. The therapist
uses slow, careful movements to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into
What To Expect After Treatment
Tennis elbow recovery time varies with each person and may take
several weeks to several months. Recovery may be faster and more successful
when you follow a rehabilitation program that includes exercise and physical
Why It Is Done
Exercise and physical therapy are helpful for treating elbow pain
Exercise and physical therapy after elbow surgery are an important
part of your recovery and may promote healing and restore strength and
How Well It Works
Most people can improve their elbow flexibility and strength with
exercise and physical therapy. Without a good rehabilitative exercise program,
it is likely that tennis elbow injuries will not get better.2
If exercises or physical therapy are not done correctly, there is a
chance of further injury to the elbow.
If your pain increases, stop the exercises or physical therapy and
seek help and instruction from your physical therapist or other health
What To Think About
Exercise and physical therapy can help to restore flexibility and
strength in an injured elbow.
It's important to improve or change techniques and equipment that
may have caused tennis elbow. You can consult:
O'Connor FG, et al., (1997). Managing overuse
injuries: A systematic approach. The Physician and
Sportmedicine, 25(5): 88-113. Also available online:
Kraushaar BS, Nirschl RP (1999).
Tendinosis of the elbow (tennis elbow). Journal
of Bone and Joint Surgery, 81-A(2): 259-278.
Other Works Consulted
Boyer MI, Hastings H II (1999). Lateral tennis elbow:
"Is there any science out there?" Journal of Shoulder and Elbow
Surgery, 8(5): 481-491.
Ciccotti MG (1999). Epicondylitis in the athlete. AAOS Instructional Course Lectures, 48: 375-381.
Sevier TL, Wilson JK (1999). Treating lateral
epicondylitis. Sports Medicine, 28(5):
Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer
Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
David Pichora, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery
February 14, 2007
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 14, 2007
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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