Physical Therapy for Elbow Tendonitis: Exercises and Techniques

Do you frequently suffer from persistent discomfort and pain in the outer area of your elbow? It may be a sign of elbow tendonitis, commonly known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. This condition is often observed in individuals who engage in repetitive wrist movements, such as athletes or people in certain occupations.

Elbow tendonitis can significantly affect your daily life, limiting your ability to participate in physical activities, work, and leisure pursuits. Therefore, seeking medical attention and treatment is essential to alleviate the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Physical therapy for elbow tendonitis is important for managing pain and treating elbow joint dysfunction. Before developing a personalised treatment approach, they will perform a comprehensive assessment to know the contributing factors and associated symptoms. Keep on reading to know how effective physical therapy can be in treating elbow tendonitis. 

Assessment of Elbow Tendonitis

The assessment of Elbow tendonitis typically follows the below procedure.

History Taking and Physical Examination

The healthcare professional will initially discuss your daily activities and previous medical history. Then they will perform a complete physical examination by asking you to perform certain actions, such as placing your arm on a flat surface, palm facing up. 

You are instructed to raise your rams by applying pressure on the arms and bending your elbows. It will be noted if you feel any pain or face obstacles while doing such actions. 

Diagnostic Tests

Even after a physical examination, your physician might suggest certain diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and others to confirm the exact location of the injury and detect the root cause. These diagnostic tests will give a detailed picture of the joints and soft tissues like tendons, ligaments and more. 

Severity Grading

Severity grading tests like Mill’s and Cozen’s tests are performed to diagnose tendonitis in the elbow and determine the pain’s severity. 

Exercises and Techniques

Range-of-Motion Exercises

Range-of-motion exercises for elbow tendonitis help you improve your muscles’ flexibility. Daily exercises will improve circulation, reduce pain and stiffness and even decrease the risk of potential injury in future. 

  • Wrist Flexion and Extension

Wrist flexion and extension are potential elbow tendonitis exercises that induce arm movement by expanding and contracting the muscles of your finger and forearms. It will stimulate the blood flow to the affected area and ease the muscle into a resting state. 

  • Pronation and Supination

Pronation and supination exercise is commonly done before or after a workout to relieve muscle soreness or stiffness. It will activate your muscles, allowing you to perform deeper stretches. 

  • Elbow Flexion and Extension

Elbow flexion and extension is another range of motion movement that will mitigate your wrist joints and tissues from the damage of sprains or strains. Practising these exercises will increase the long-term stability of your wrist muscles over time.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening and stretching exercises for elbow tendonitis contribute to better balance and improved flexibility. It also protects your joints from the risk of falls or injury by building muscle strength and better balance. 

  • Eccentric Exercises

Studies proved that eccentric exercises are recommended to strengthen the tenon and release the tensed muscles in the forearm. It will make the swollen tendons return to their healthy state, relieving the pain from elbow tendonitis.

  • Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise involving lengthening the muscles is often recommended during the rehabilitation program for elbow tendonitis. They help reduce the swelling, pain and stiffness in the wrists.

  • Progressive Resistance Exercises

Progressive resistance exercise aids in strengthening and stretching the muscles that are attached to the injured tendons. It will effectively speed up the natural healing process and alleviate persistent pain. 

Manual Therapy Techniques

Your physical therapist may incorporate certain manual therapy techniques to help the patient to regain their mobility and strength of muscles as well as the quantity of movement and quality of life. 

  • Soft Tissue Mobilisation

Soft tissue mobilisation is the effective approach that implements stretching and deep pressure generally applied on the affected arm to break up the adhesions or rigid muscle tissues. It also relaxes muscle tension and eliminates the fluid accumulated in the tissues that induce pain and inflammation.

  • Myofascial Release

Myofascial release therapy is used to relieve tightness or stiffness in the muscles. It addresses the symptoms of elbow tendinitis, like loss of flexibility. The progress of the symptoms involves improved motion, decreased pain and increased function.

  • Trigger Point Release

The trigger point release is another beneficial manual therapy technique that relaxes and relives your muscle pain that has trigger points. It heals tendon inflammation by improving blood circulation to the injured area.

Neuromuscular Re-education Techniques

Neuromuscular re-education training helps you achieve various goals, from improving balance to maintaining healthy posture. The ultimate goal of the therapy is to restore the natural connection between your mind and body, restoring energy-efficient movement patterns. 

  • Proprioceptive Training 

Proprioceptive training is an approach that focuses on improving the proprioceptive function of your elbow. It also tends to enhance the performance and motor function of the affected individuals by acting as a sensorimotor rehabilitation tool. 

  • Functional Training

Functional training typically targets the whole body and emphasises core stability and strength. It also increases coordination, balance and posture by implementing a wide range of motions. 

  • Balance Training

Balance training aids in improving the communication between the brain and injured muscles, which will enhance our balance and coordination. It also works on your core stability and performance by preventing the risk of injury. 


Pain from elbow tendonitis can greatly hinder an individual’s life. Physical therapy with a combination of stretching, exercise and modalities can effectively help elbow tendonitis. It will not only aid in improving the range of motion of your elbow joints but also eliminate the pain, giving long-term relief in time.

Nonetheless, your elbow tendonitis stretches, and a professional therapist should closely monitor the exercise. You can adjust the intensity and frequency of the program depending on improving your symptoms and pain levels. As the healing begins, you will notice your arms’ enhanced movement and mobility.

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