While the elbow is commonly called the funny bone, recurrent elbow pain is no laughing matter. Elbow pain can be severe and prevent you from cooking dinner, exercising, or working on your computer. Thankfully, performing wrist extensions can help relieve and even prevent pain.
Common Causes of Elbow Pain
Elbows are joints in your arm that include bones, muscles, tendons (connect muscles to bones), and ligaments (connect bones to bones).
The 2 most common causes of elbow pain are:
- A specific injury (a dislocation or break from a fall).
- Overworking the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow(tendonitis) from repetitive motion such as working all day at a computer or swinging a tennis racquet or a golf club.
Elbow pain often begins as a dull ache. If left untreated, it can develop into chronic pain that makes everyday activities difficult.
If you are experiencing elbow pain, you should follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method. A useful alternative to an ice pack is an ice cup massage tool. Ice cups let you not only ice, but also massage the area which can help reduce swelling.
Remember, any pain that lasts longer than 1 week or occurs frequently without a related injury should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
The Importance of Wrist Extensions
Wrist extensions play an important role in recovery from elbow pain because they strengthen the muscles in your forearm (the part between your elbow and your wrist). Strengthening these muscles will help support your elbow and prevent future pain.
Effect of Wrist Extensions on Elbow Pain
Wrist extensions increase flexibility and muscle strength. When your elbow is properly supported, your tendons will not become overworked from repetitive motion.
During the exercise, you will build strength in your muscles as they lengthen (eccentric motion) to help support the tendons at your elbow during shortened (concentric contraction) movements like typing.
Steps to Perform a Wrist Extension
Wrist extensions can be performed at home with an elastic band. Once you are seated with your elastic band follow these simple steps :
- Grip and wrap the band around the hand you want to exercise.
- Anchor the band with your feet, giving yourself as much tension as you need.
- Rest your forearm on your thigh (palm up).
- Let your fist extend down toward your feet (eccentric contraction).
- Use your other hand to help lift and curl the hand toward your body (concentriccontraction).
- Return your fist to the extended position.
- Continue for 2 sets of 10 stretches.
- Rotate your arm (palm down, knuckles up) and repeat the exercise for another 2 sets of10 stretches.
Most elbow issues are treated with rest and exercise. Following the advice of your physical therapist will allow you to heal and build strength so you can return to your normal activity level.
For additional information on elbow pain and treatment beyond wrist extensions, please read: Elbow Pain and Tennis Elbow Treatment.