Dealing With Tennis Elbow: Finding a Good Physical Therapist Who Works With Gymnasts Near Me

What is tennis elbow? How can a good physical therapist who works with gymnasts near me help

Can non-tennis-players get a tennis elbow? It’s possible! Despite the name, anyone can get tennis elbow. While some cases resolve on their own or with home remedies, sometimes, you may need physical therapy. Gymnasts suffer a lot of injuries (including tennis elbow) and a gymnastics physical therapist can help. Are you wondering: “How do I find a good physical therapist who works with gymnasts near me?” We will discuss tennis elbow and how you can get relief from this condition using physical therapy and other interventions. 

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow (also called lateral epicondylitis) is a form of tendinitis or swelling of the tendons. These tendons are bands of sturdy tissue that connect your lower arm’s muscles to the bone. This condition causes pain in your elbow that makes it difficult to extend and flex your arm. 

What causes tennis elbow? Repetitive motions, like gripping things between the thumb and forefinger, can strain your tendons and muscles. Some activities include:

  • Playing sports like racquetball, squash, tennis (yes), fencing, weight-lifting, etc.
  • Hobbies such as carpentry, painting, and knitting 
  • Tasks like typing and raking your yard 

The persistent tugging may also cause microscopic tears in your arm’s tissue. Tennis elbow can occur at any age, but the typical onset is around age 40. 

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

A tennis elbow manifests as pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of the elbow. Why? This knob is the meeting point of your injured tendons that connect to your bone. The tennis elbow is also similar to the golfer’s elbow (where the pain is in the tendons along the inside of your elbow).

You may also experience radiating pain in your upper and lower arm. Although most of the pain is in your elbow, you will likely feel pain while you complete tasks with your hands.

Tennis elbow creates the most pain and discomfort when you:

  • Lift an item
  • Make a fist or try to firmly grip an object 
  • Get in awkward positions
  • Reach overhead or straighten your wrist
  • Engage in strenuous activities 
  • Open a door or shake hands rigorously 

Your physician will perform a thorough exam to diagnose tennis elbow. They will likely flex your arm, wrist, and elbow while asking you for your feedback about the pain and discomfort. 

Furthermore, you may also require imaging tests such as X-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose tennis elbow. These tests can also rule out other medical conditions. 

How Does Physical Therapy Alleviate Tennis Elbow Pain?

Physical therapy and exercises to deal with tennis elbow can alleviate pain

 

Physical therapy seeks to alleviate pain and strengthen your forearm muscles so that it is easily flexible. Your physical therapist will also teach you how to do common tasks in a way that prevents subsequent injuries. 

Another benefit of physical therapy is that it improves blood flow to your tendons. These tendons also don’t receive the same amount of blood and oxygen supply that your muscles would generally receive. 

Exercises are also useful in improving blood flow to speed up the healing process. Your physical therapist will also seek to relieve your pain using special exercises that stretch and strengthen your muscles. 

Some of the pain relief techniques include:

  • Ice massage
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Use straps, tape, and braces for support. 
  • Ultrasound

Your physical therapist will also teach you techniques to relax your elbow and minimize strain from daily activities. 

Simple Exercises to Deal with Tennis Elbow

Exercises work much better once the pain subsides a bit. However, if you start exercising and you feel pain, then stop. Don’t push yourself or you could make your condition far worse. 

For these exercises that follow, the number of reps and how often you do them is merely a guideline. Always follow your physical therapist’s recommendations. Above all, listen to your body. Don’t increase the reps if you’re hurting and don’t exercise every day if you’re in pain. 

Finger Exercises

Here are some exercises that you can perform to exercise your fingers:

Finger Stretch

  1. Bring your fingers together so that your fingers touch your thumb
  2. Place a rubber band around them (including your thumb)
  3. Slowly open your thumb and fingers all the way apart as much as you can
  4. Then bring your fingers and thumb together
  5. Repeat 25 times

You can do this exercise up to three times each day. If it’s too easy to do, then try using two rubber bands. 

Ball Squeeze

An anti-stress ball is perfect for doing this exercise

 

  1. Hold a tennis ball or a soft rubber ball in your hand
  2. Slowly squeeze and release the ball for up to 25 repetitions 

Attempt this exercise up to three times per day. If you feel pain, then use a softer object such as a sponge or a pair of your balled-up socks. 

Wrist Exercises

These include:

Wrist Flexor Stretch

  1. Hold your arm straight out so that your elbow is not bent and your palm is upward-facing
  2. Use your other hand to hold the fingers of this outstretched hand
  3. Bend those fingers back toward your body until you feel the pressure in your inner forearm
  4. Hold for 15 seconds and slowly release 
  5. Repeat three to five times per day 

You can adjust the exercise by holding it for up to 30 seconds. Then you can increase your reps from five times up to 10 times per day. 

Wrist Extensor Stretch

  1. Hold your arm straight out so that your elbow is not bent and your palm is downward-facing
  2. Use your other hand to hold the fingers of this outstretched hand
  3. Bend those fingers back toward your body until you feel the pressure in your outer forearm
  4. Hold for 15 seconds and slowly release 
  5. Repeat three to five times per day

Once again, you can adjust the exercise by holding it for up to 30 seconds. You can also increase your reps from five times up to 10 times per day.

Wrist Turn

  1. Bend your elbow at a right angle by your side. Make sure that it forms an L
  2. Hold your hand out with the palm upward-facing
  3. Gently turn your wrist so that your palm is downward-facing
  4. Hold for 15 seconds
  5. Repeat three to five times per day

You can vary this exercise by increasing the repetitions up to 10 times per day and increase the hold up to 30 seconds each time. 

Forearm Exercises

You can perform the following exercises:

Forearm Strengthening

  1. Get a one-pound dumbbell (or a tool like a hammer or a wrench) and take a seat
  2. Use your thigh or the edge of a table to support your forearm. Make sure that your wrist hangs over the edge
  3. Grab the bottom of the dumbbell (not the middle as you normally would)
  4. Slowly turn your hand so that your palm faces upward as you hold the dumbbell. Only move your forearm and not your elbow 
  5. Slowly turn your palm to face the ground
  6. Repeat 10 times per day

Increase the reps up to 20 times per day if possible. 

Eccentric and Concentric Exercises

  1. Sit on a chair at a table with an edge with a one- or two-pound dumbbell 
  2. Bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle so that your palm faces the ground
  3. Slowly lower the weight and then raise it 
  4. Do up to 10 repetitions if you can manage it
  5. Rest for a few minutes
  6. Fully straighten your elbow flat across the table with your palm downward-facing
  7. Slowly lower and raise the weight 10 times 

Once 10 repetitions become easy for you, then you can try increasing the weight by one or two pounds. You can continue the exercises once per day for approximately 3 months. The pain should reduce in four to six weeks. 

Post-Therapy

Once your elbow is pain-free, then you need to keep your elbow in good working order. Daily activities won’t keep your muscles strong and flexible. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about exercises you can keep doing at home to ensure that your elbow works optimally. 

Tennis Elbow: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s discuss a few FAQs about tennis elbow

 

Let’s explore a few of these frequently asked questions:

What Are Some of the Treatment Options?

Some of these treatment options are:

  • Icing your elbow to minimize pain and swelling
  • Use an elbow strap/brace to protect your injured arm
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, to alleviate the pain and swelling

How Long is Tennis Elbow Recovery?

Tennis elbow may be caused by either inflammatory or non-inflammatory tendon dysfunction. Regular healing of soft tissue like your tendons takes three days to eight weeks to recover. In many cases, a true tennis elbow that doesn’t heal after six to eight weeks is usually due to a non-inflammatory issue.

Can I Work Out With Tennis Elbow?

Your physician will ensure that the pain and inflammation in your elbow are declining. Rest is an essential part of the treatment regimen for tennis elbow. So you should avoid your usual exercise routine as you heal. 

Should I Wear a Tennis Elbow Brace Overnight?

Tennis elbow requires several treatment options. Wearing a brace overnight helps to keep your arm in a stable and protected position as you sleep. 

How Do I Find a Physical Therapist to Help?

Are you wondering: “How do I find a good physical therapist who works with gymnasts near me to address my tennis elbow?” If you are in the Shelton, CT area, then you can visit Moving With Hope. We have a team of experienced physical therapy professionals that will work with your physician to give you the best healthcare. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you get back to optimal functioning.

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