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Range of Motion Exercises for the Elbow

By Michelle Miley

If you suffer from arthritis or other joint problems, there are a few simple exercises that can help you to increase your elbow's range of motion. It is preferable to perform these exercises twice a day, but once a day may prove adequate for your condition. When performing range-of-motion exercises, it is important to keep your movements fluid and avoid any sudden or jerky movement. Feeling a slight stretch is normal, but you should never feel pain when exercising. If you do experience pain, stop the exercise and contact your doctor or physical therapist.

Elbow Bend

Sit down and place your hand on your knee with your palm facing up. Slowly bend your elbow, lifting your hand toward your shoulder. Go as far as you can comfortably go. Use your free hand to gently apply pressure to your wrist, pushing your hand a bit closer to your shoulder. Hold here for a count of 10. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Elbow Straightening

Lie on your back with your arm out to your side. Place a pillow or folded towel under your elbow for cushioning and support. Bend your elbow so that your forearm is perpendicular to the floor. Slowly relax the muscles in your arm and allow your elbow to straighten. When your arm has straightened out as far as is comfortable, hold the position for 1 minute.

Palm Twist

Place your elbow at your side and bend it at a 90-degree angle. The palm of your hand should be in front of you, facing the floor. Slowly rotate your arm 180 degrees so that your palm is facing up. If necessary, place your free hand on your wrist and use it to help twist your arm. Now twist your arm back again so that your palm is facing down once again. Complete 5 repetitions of this exercise.

Tennis Elbow Stretch

Stand with your arm held away from your body at a 45-degree angle with your palm facing in toward your body Keep your arm as straight as possible and twist your arm so that your palm faces away from you. If you like, you can use your free hand to apply gentle pressure on the pinky side of your palm so that you can twist a bit further. This exercise should also be repeated 5 times.

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