Tendons connect muscles to bone, and forearm tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the forearm. There are a number of potential causes of forearm tendonitis, including overuse of the forearm muscles, injury to your arm, or simply aging. Two well-known and unfortunately all-too-common versions of this condition are "tennis elbow," and "golfer's elbow." Though named after the sports in which they typically occur, these types of injuries are not relegated to these activities. Each of these forms of tendonitis involves different portions of the elbow--tennis the outside portion of the elbow, and golf the inside.
If you're suffering from forearm tendonitis, you need to deal with your condition in a logical way. In other words, first things first. Many therapists and other rehabilitation experts recommend that before you begin exercising for this condition that you first get past the acute injury stage of your injury by following the R-I-C-E principle--rest, ice, compression and elevation, if swelling is involved.
One of the keys to overcoming forearm tendonitis is strengthening the forearm muscles. There are a number of exercises that can be used to help strengthen your forearm muscles.
Wrist Extension and Flexion
Wrist extension and flexion exercises are performed from the seated position. Rest your forearm on your thigh with your wrist and hand jutting out over your knee- -your hand is facing palm down. With a small hand weight--1 to 3 lbs.--bring your hand up towards your forearm by bending your wrist. This is wrist extension. As you return the hand to its original starting position, continue bending the wrist all the way down as far as you can go. This is wrist flexion.
Pronation and Supination
Begin these two exercises by finding a large hammer or wrench. Hold the instrument at the furthest end away from the head. Now place your forearm on your thigh just as you did for the wrist extension and flexion exercise. Slowly rotate your forearm over until the palm of your hand is facing up and as far over in that direction as you can comfortably take it. For example, if you are exercising your right forearm, rotate over and out to the right as far as you can. This is pronation. Supination is the opposite motion, so in returning to the starting hand position, palm facing down, you have performed the supination exercise.
Take a soft rubber ball that fits in the palm of your hand. Squeeze and release the ball 15 to 20 times. If you feel pain with this exercise, squeeze the ball more gently, choose a softer ball, or do not perform this exercise.
Stretching your forearm muscles will help keep them supple and ready for action. With your arm outstretched in front of you, and the palm facing down, take your other hand and pull your fingers back towards your forearm. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and relax. Then grasp the top of your outstretched hand and press it downward, bending the wrist down and giving you the opposite stretch.
If you play sports that involve throwing or striking a ball or other object, and you suffer from forearm tendonitis, don't overlook your shoulders. Oftentimes, problems that appear in one place, such as the forearm, can be related to weakness somewhere else. So, don't ignore your shoulders and other upper body muscles when looking to solve your forearm tendonitis problem.