If you notice stiffness in your elbow, don't ignore it and continue working or exercising. Your elbow may be sore and stiff due to a repetitive use injury -- sometimes called golfer's elbow or tennis elbow -- or you could have a dislocation or bursitis. If your doctor approves, you can use stretching exercises to increase arm strength and reduce stiffness in your elbow joint.
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Tennis Ball Squeeze
Strengthen the muscles in your forearm to reduce stiffness and pain in your elbow. Hold a tennis ball in the hand of your arm with a stiff elbow.. Bend your elbow and squeeze a tennis ball in your hand 25 times, three times a day. Gently squeeze the ball with your fingers, then release. Each time you squeeze the ball, you should feel a stretch in your fingers, elbow and forearm.
Pronator and Supinator Exercise
Reduce stiffness in your elbow by strengthening the supinator and pronator muscles, the muscles that allow your wrist to twist. Hold a soda can or a 1-pound hand weight with your thumb pointing up toward the ceiling. Twist your wrist as far as you can to the right, then hold the position for two seconds. Twist your wrist as far as far as you can to the left and hold for two seconds. Repeat up to 50 times on each side.
Hold a light hand weight or soda can in your injured hand, then rest your forearm on a sturdy table with your palm facing up toward the ceiling. Using your wrist, lift your hand up off the table and bring the weight toward you. Hold the position for two seconds, then lower your wrist back down to the table. Repeat the exercise three times, five times a day.
Rubber Band Stretch
Pinch your fingers together so all five fingertips are touching. Put a thick rubber band over your fingers, just below the base of your fingernails. Open your fingertips to stretch the muscles in your arm and your elbow. Bring your fingertips back together, then open again for a total of 25 times. Repeat this exercise set three times a day. If the rubber band does not provide enough resistance to stretch your muscles, add a second rubber band.