Exercises After Elbow Surgery

Fit woman with elbow injury
Elbow injuries take time to heal (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Your elbow plays a vital role in daily activities by allowing you to straighten and bend your arm, as well as rotate your forearm. Most people who undergo elbow surgery resume a normal lifestyle within four months based on the severity of the injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Sugeons. Physical therapy typically includes strengthening exercises that can accelerate your recovery and help you regain full function of your elbow. Aim to work out at least twice daily based on your comfort level, and repeat each exercise 10 times. Ask your doctor for permission prior to beginning any activity plan.

Wrist Extender

Grip a 1-lb. weight in your hand, and turn your palm so that it faces down toward the floor. Ensure your forearm has support on your knee or on the edge of a counter or table so that only your hand is able to move. Your injured elbow should be straight. Carefully raise your hand using a slow motion. Maintain the position for about five seconds. Lower your hand slowly back to its original position and rest for five seconds.

Tricep Center Stretch

Begin by standing straight with your feet at least shoulder width apart. Slowly raise your affected arm at the shoulder with your elbow bent. Extend your forearm so that it is behind your head. Grip your affected elbow with your free hand. Pull our elbow in toward the center of your body until you feel a slight stretching sensation. Keep the position for a few seconds, and then return to your original position. Rest for a few seconds before attempting the exercise again.

Wrist Stretch

Grip a 1-lb. weight in your hand and turn your palm so that it faces upward toward the ceiling. Ensure your forearm has support on your knee or on a counter or table so that only your hand is able to move. Straighten your injured elbow. Gently bend your wrist up using a slow, steady movement. Lower your wrist slowly back to its original position and rest for five seconds.

Rotation Stretch

Stand with your hand extended forward as if you are about to shake hands with a friend, although your palm should be turned up toward the ceiling. Rotate your hand with a slow motion so that your palm is turned down. Maintain the downward position for three to five seconds, and then turn your hand back to its original position with the palm up. Rest for a few seconds and repeat. Aim to perform the rotation stretch with a 1-lb. weight when your elbow feels strong enough.

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