Stretching Your Elbow

Stretching is an important activity for decreasing elbow pain. It can effectively be done in a few minutes, or while you are talking on the phone. The elbow muscles are mostly associated with wrist flexion and extension, so we will stretching the muscles in their opposite direction.

The wrist flexor muscles attach to the inside of your elbow and insert on the wrist. When they contract they bring the palm of your hand toward your forearm. You can feel the muscles contract when curling your wrist. Injuries to the tendon at the elbow is called medial epicondylitis or Golfer’s elbow.

To stretch the wrist flexors, straighten out your right arm and extend your wrist. With your left hand grab the fingers on the right hand and gently pull them further backwards. We are trying to produce a comfortable stretch. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds. Then pull the fingers backwards for another 5-10 seconds. Repeat this activity five times on each side. By rotating your arm or changing the angle of pull on the wrist, you can experience a stretch in different parts of the muscle.

This stretch can also be performed by placing your fingers on the edge of a counter or table. With your arms straight, gently lean into the stretch for 5 seconds. Rest for five seconds and then repeat for 5 seconds. Both arms can be stretched at the same time when using a counter or table.

Wrist extensors are muscle that begin on the outside of the elbow and run toward the back of the wrist. These muscles are associated with gripping, ripping, turning a screw driver, typing, or lifting activities. Injuries to this muscle group is common, it is referred to as tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

Since these muscles extend the wrist, we are going to stretch the muscle by pulling the wrist forward into flexion. Begin with your right elbow extended, and flex your wrist. Your left hand will gently hold the right hand and pull into flexion. Your goal is a comfortable stretch in the muscles. If it hurts stop! Pain is not a goal; we are tying for a comfortable stretch.

Rotating your right arm and changing the angle of pull will change the stretch. Think of the positions of a clock, changing and rotating the pull from the 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock positions will enhance the stretch effectiveness.

This stretch can be repeated several times a day in a pain free manner.