Repetitive strenuous activity can damage the elbow, and you may experience intense pain. It occurs due to various factors, such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. However, they are not restricted to those who play these sports. In both conditions, tendon damage causes soreness and pain around the elbow.

It sometimes only provides relief once the root cause is identified, and physical therapy helps you identify the root cause of your pain, providing significant elbow pain relief.

Physical therapy performs miracles when it comes to diagnosing and treating elbow problems. Local elbow examination tests such as muscle strength, ligament stress, active and passive movements, and grip strength. Moreover, shoulder, wrist, and spine tests are done for the neurological diagnosis to verify whether anything else contributes to elbow pain. The treatment plan is developed to improve your movements based on your diagnosis and condition. 

Please read this blog to learn about the common causes of elbow pain, its treatment, and exercises to relieve elbow pain. 

What Is Elbow Pain?

Elbows can become injured from trauma, repetitive strain, and poor posture. Elbow pain is a common injury that can affect your ability to reach, grasp, lift, and bear weight on your arm. Tennis elbow is a painful joint swelling caused by repetitive strenuous activity. The pain is felt on the outer side of the elbow, but it may spread to the back of the forearm. It will be painful to straighten your arm fully if your elbow is injured. 

Elbow pain of any kind should be evaluated by a doctor, physical therapist, or health care professional, especially if the pain does not go away for two to three weeks.

What Causes Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain can have many causes, from ligament damage to fractures. Here are a few causes of elbow pain 

Elbow Pain From Ligament Sprains 

One or more ligaments can be damaged when the elbow absorbs additional force quickly, such as from a fall or straining exercise; this causes inflammation, irritation, and pain in multiple structures around the elbow.

Elbow Pain From Arthritis 

A previous traumatic elbow injury, such as a fracture, usually causes elbow osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis may occur in the elbow or associated with other affected joints.

Elbow Pain From Bursitis 

Abnormal repetitive pressure or direct force applied to the olecranon (usually the back of the elbow) is known as olecranon bursitis. You may also have a sizable swollen pocket behind your elbow. 

Elbow Pain Due To Muscle Strain 

The elbow has several muscle groups crossing the joint, all of which can become strained or develop unhealthy tissue from overuse. A common elbow tendon injury occurs when the forearm extensor muscle is inserted outside the elbow and is known as a tennis elbow.

Treatment Of Elbow Pain With Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will use an X-ray or MRI to identify pain in your elbow and objectively assess the damage accordingly. Based on the assessment result, the elbow pain relief includes various treatments such as shock wave therapy, acupuncture, and dry needling. Manual therapy will improve the joint range of motion to increase strength. 

Depending on the intensity and location of the pain, your physical therapist will develop a customized plan for you that includes strength, flexibility, and motor skills exercises for elbow joint pain. Our physical therapist may suggest that you go for massage therapy. 

It is necessary to make some lifestyle changes for a faster recovery. Postural training, braces, and taping are also recommended as part of elbow physical therapy.

Best Exercises To Recover From Elbow Pain

Your physical therapist helps you perform exercises within a pain-free range of motion and modify or stop it if you feel discomfort. Some easy physical activities you can do are – 

Wrist Twist 

  • Bend your elbows at a right angle and extend your hands out, palms up. 
  • Rotate your wrist.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat it nine times.

Wrist Curl 

  • Hold a light dumbbell in your hand, supporting it with your forearm. 
  • Use wrist curls to lift your weight toward the ceiling. 
  • Remember to keep your palms facing up and down. 
  • Repeat 15 times in each direction, three times a day.

Fist Squeeze 

  • Place a tennis ball in the palm. 
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed. 
  • The patient grabs the ball to form the fist, squeezing it for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat it ten times.

Towel Twist 

  • Hold a loose, rolled-up towel lengthways with one hand at each end.
  • Keep the shoulders relaxed. 
  • Twist the towel by moving the hands’ opposite ways. 
  • Repeat it nine times in both directions. 


Our physical therapists help you achieve your lifestyle goals. Balanced Body Physical Therapy performs a detailed evaluation of the elbow to identify factors affecting your symptoms. With personalized treatment plans, specific injuries are addressed.

The elbow joint is a complex joint. Hence, it is necessary to gain knowledge of it and undergo rehabilitation to get long-term elbow pain relief.

Call us at (801) 293-8888 or Visit us online to learn more about our physical therapy services.