While the elbow is immobilized after an acute injury, general body exercises should be performed as well as exercises specific to the shoulder and wrist joint. In some cases isometric exercise is appropriate while the elbow is immobilized. Maintaining the strength of these joints will speed the recovery of the elbow. After the elbow is healed and free movement is permitted, the first consideration should be restoration of the normal range of movement and then strengthening. Resistance should be progressive in the following exercises starting with light resistance and gradually increasing.

1)Ball Squeeze

Squeeze a tennis ball while performing pain free elbow movements of flexion, extension, and of supination and pronation while the elbow is flexed at 90 degrees.

2)Arm Curls

Beginning with light resistance and keeping the elbow close to the side, perform arm curls with the wrist turned in and then with the wrist turned out. Make sure the arm travels slowly in each direction.

3)Elbow Extensions

Beginning with light resistance, hold the arm straight up letting the elbow bend behind the back. Support the elbow close to the head with the opposite hand and begin extending the elbow and then relaxing, being sure to let the arm travel slowly in each direction.

Protective supports and taping must be continued until full strength and flexibility has been restored.

Such exercises should be performed in sets of ten, working toward an ultimate program of three sets of ten, two or three times daily.

Dr. Kenneth Simpson photo