Five Stretches for Elbow & Wrist Pain

Posted by Stuart Hinds on

Myofascial Trigger Points (MTPs) are ubiquitous, and myofascial pain affects as much as 85% of the population at some time in their life. The impact of myofascial pain on health can be severe as patients not only suffer from pain and loss of function, but also from impaired mood and decreased quality of life.

Elbow and wrist pain are common, and may often be associated with trigger points in the muscles of the upper arm, lower arm, and shoulder.

Stretching alone is unlikely to dissipate trigger points, but it may help accelerate the process as part of a broader treatment and certainly may provide some pain relief.

Here are some simple stretches that we often recommend. Please take note of the instructions. Always start slowly, work within your limits, and use common sense!

1. Hand Inversion Stretch

hand inversion stretch

Technique

While crouching on your knees with your forearms facing forward and hands pointing backwards, slowly move rearward.

Muscles being stretched

Primary muscles

  • Biceps brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Coracobrachialis

Secondary muscles

  • Pronator teres
  • Flexor carpi radialis
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris
  • Palmaris longus

Injuries where it may be useful

  • Biceps tendon rupture
  • Bicepital tendonitis
  • Biceps strain
  • Elbow strain
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Elbow bursitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Thrower’s elbow

Additional information about performing this stretch correctly

Depending on where your muscles are most tight, you may feel this stretch more in your forearms or more in your upper arms. To make this stretch easier, move your hands towards your knees.

 

2. Inner Arm Stretch

inner arm stretch

Technique

Hold onto your fingers and turn your palms outwards. Straighten your arm and then pull your fingers back using your other hand.

Muscles being stretched

Primary muscles

  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Pronator teres
  • Flexor carpi radialis
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris
  • Palmaris longus

Secondary muscles

  • Flexor digitorum superficialis
  • Flexor digitorum profundus
  • Flexor pollicis longus

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Thrower’s elbow
  • Wrist sprain
  • Wrist dislocation
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ulnar tunnel syndrome

Additional information about performing this stretch correctly

The forearms, wrists, and fingers comprise a multitude of small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Do not overstretch this area by applying too much force too quickly.

 

3. Wrist Rotation Stretch

Wrist rotation stretch

Technique

Place one arm straight out in front and parallel to the ground. Rotate your wrist down and outwards and then use your other hand to further rotate your hand upwards.

Muscles being stretched

Primary muscles

  • Brachioradialis
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris
  • Supinator

Secondary muscles

  • Extensor digitorum
  • Extensor pollicis longus and brevis

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Thrower’s elbow
  • Wrist sprain
  • Wrist dislocation
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ulnar tunnel syndrome

Additional information about performing this stretch correctly

The forearms, wrists, and fingers comprise a multitude of small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Do not overstretch this area by applying too much force too quickly.

 

4. Outer Arm Stretch

Outer arm stretch

Technique

Hold on to your fingers while straightening your arm. Pull your fingers towards your body.

Muscles being stretched

Primary muscles

  • Extensor carpi ulnaris
  • Extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis
  • Extensor digitorum

Secondary muscles

  • Extensor digiti minimi
  • Extensor indicis

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Thrower’s elbow
  • Wrist sprain
  • Wrist dislocation
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ulnar tunnel syndrome

Additional Information about performing this stretch correctly

The forearms, wrists, and fingers comprise a multitude of small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Do not overstretch this area by applying too much force too quickly.

 

5. Thumb Stretch

Thumb Stretch

Technique

Start with your fingers pointing up and your thumb out to one side, then use your other hand to pull your thumb down.

Muscles being stretched

Primary muscles

  • Flexor pollicis longus
  • Flexor pollicis brevis

Secondary muscles

  • Adductor pollicis
  • Opponens pollicis

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Thrower’s elbow
  • Wrist sprain
  • Wrist dislocation
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ulnar tunnel syndrome

Additional information about performing this stretch correctly

The palm and thumb comprise a multitude of small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Do not overstretch this area by applying too much force too quickly.

 

Learn more

 

About the author

Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.

Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.

In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.

* * * 

This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 

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