Tennis elbow is a surprisingly popular topic for us. We get a ton of people talking about it on our Youtube channel and even here in the office. If you don't know, tennis elbow comes about from more than just playing tennis. Any repetitive arm motion or even trauams such as falling and catching yourself on your arm can cause a flare up. This is because tennis elbow is just the lamins term for lateral epicondylitis. The term is doctor speak for inflammation in the elbow.
All sorts of things can cause inflammation in this area but most commonly it occurs when the radius bone becomes off-axis. Inflammation and overuse of the extensor muscles lead up to these aches and pains that are commonly known as tennis elbow.
So what do you do about it? A lot of people will just suggest rest. Because it's an inflammation problem, this will generally help for a bit. But you might notice that as soon as you get back to normal activity, the pain comes back.
This because you've overworked that elbow to the point that the radius bone is off-axis. The acute inflammation is reduced because of the rest, but you haven't fixed that actual problem.
To combat this, you can do a simple exercise that stabilizes the elbow joint and slowly pulls that radius bone back into it's proper spot. Insert the elbow plie exercise!
This exercise is super simple and requires no equipment. Your target arm is the arm in pain. Sit down on a couch or bed and put your target arm down to your side like you're pushing into the couch with your arm. Press your palm with your hand splayed open and push yourself away from the surface. You'll then use your other hand/arm to push/pull again the target elbow. Take a look at the above video for further instruction!
If you have tennis elbow symptoms, this exercise may be just the ticket. Let us know in the comments how this exercise worked for you. If you have elbow pain and this exercise didn't quite nip the pain, it your elbow pain may be caused by something else like a pinced nerve. I always recommend getting checked out by a doctor of physical therapy. We can prescribe exercises that are right for your individual needs!
Remember, we can and we will get better together!
Dr. Justin C. Lin