If your elbow pain is due to an injury, surgery, or medical condition, try these gentle stretching and strengthening elbow exercises to help treat your pain.
The elbow is a complex hinge joint made up of a series of bones and soft tissues that create the ability to bend and straighten the arm. The elbow can become painful for a wide range of reasons, and usually develops following a localised injury or condition, or from strained or inflamed muscles, tendons or joints.
The first thing you should do before you attempt to treat your lateral elbow pain is to understand the cause of your problem. Diagnosing the source of your elbow pain is not always straightforward; sometimes it can be caused by referred structures or other systemic conditions, such as a neck condition. If your C5/6 nerve (found in the neck) is irritated or compromised, it can cause mild to chronic elbow pain, and treatment directed at the elbow will not resolve your arm pain.
The types of elbow pain that can be treated with physio exercise include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, bursitis, dislocated elbow, arthritis, fractures, tendonitis, broken elbow, fractured elbow, trapped nerves and overuse. If you do not know the reason for your elbow pain and are experiencing severe pain in the inner, medial or outer elbow or radiating throughout the arm, our specialist physiotherapists will assess, diagnose and treat your elbow pain at its source with a personalised rehabilitation programme.
IS IT SAFE FOR ME TO EXERCISE?
Gentle elbow and arm exercise have been proven to be one of the most helpful treatments for a range of elbow conditions, as long as they are done steadily and with care. Physical therapy exercise helps to improve blood flow to the tendons, strengthen structures in the arm and improve the flexibility of the joint.
If you rest your injured elbow for too long, the lack of movement causes your joint to stiffen and the surrounding muscles to weaken, which increases your pain symptoms. These simple targeted exercises can help to both treat your current pain and reduce the risk of future issues.
If you are unsure of the cause of your elbow condition, it is safer to be assessed by a physiotherapist first. Our nationwide team of friendly physiotherapists are here to help if you need us.
BEST EXERCISES FOR ELBOW PAIN
Elbow pain caused by conditions such as tennis elbow can be relieved at home, with a combination of rest, ice and specific gentle exercises. You should also stop any repetitive activity causing the issue and rest the arm, so the inflammation can ease.
Doing exercises designed for tennis elbow helps strengthen forearm muscles and improve function. These exercises are also good for helping to ease pain from arthritis, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel pain, bursitis, trapped nerves, fractures and sprains.
To get the best possible treatment for your elbow, you need to work with a physiotherapist who will address and treat the cause of pain directly.
See our videos on some of the main exercises for tennis elbow pain relief and strengthening below.
Place the resistance band in both hands with your palms facing down. Slowly turn the palm of your affected arm over pulling against the resistance of the band. Control the pull of the band to slowly return to the start position.
In standing hold a resistance band in both hands behind your body. Slowly pull the band apart whilst rotating your hand out so that your palms end up facing forwards.
Wrist supination - Grip a band between both hands with your palms facing down- slowly rotate the elbow of your affected arm out so that your palm ends up facing up
Bend your elbow to touch your chin, then touch your ear with your hand. Lift your arm straight up to the sky. Repeat this exercise several times.
Our physio elbow pain relief exercises contain easy to follow instructions, without the need for any specialist equipment. They do however involve the use of a resistance band, which you can pick up for a low cost from retailers such as Amazon. Some of our other physio exercise videos, such as neck pain exercises or back pain exercises, involve basic equipment such as weights and fitness balls. If you don’t have these at home, you can use household items instead, such as laundry detergents, tennis balls, and even canned goods. More advanced physio equipment is used in our one-on-one physio sessions and monitored by your physiotherapist throughout.
NEED A BIT OF EXTRA HELP?
Our experts can treat your mild to chronic elbow conditions from any of our 17 clinics nationwide. Your targeted treatment may include more than just physio exercises for your arm, such as acupuncture and sports massage. Our physios will also give you some strategies to prevent the elbow pain from returning. We will complete a full physio assessment and create a personalised elbow rehabilitation program designed around you.
Video call appointments
Response Physio & Sports Therapy offer physio appointments for patients across the UK. We offer flexible opening hours to suit busy schedules, including early and late appointments, Saturday clinics, and remote clinics. No need to wait in any lengthy backlog for physio treatment on the NHS, you can be seen without a doctor’s referral and appointments are often available within 24 hours. We accept self-pay, NHS referrals, and all major private health insurers, including AXA, BUPA, and Medico-legal.
Our locations that offer advanced physio treatment for elbow pain:
Disclaimer: The above exercises alone are not designed as a cure or long term solution for your elbow pain; if you are suffering from an elbow or arm injury, illness or condition then you still need to see a physiotherapist.