Home Exercise Series: Forearm Stretch for Tennis Elbow

Daniel Sedran

February 17, 2021

Man doing a stretch for tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It typically involves pain at, and surrounding, the bone towards the outside of your elbow. When trying to recover from a tennis elbow injury, there are a number of treatments and exercises that can be helpful. This specific movement involves stretching most of the muscles of the forearm which typically contribute to tennis elbow pain. By gently stretching these muscles, it can help to relax muscles that might be tight or sore, as well as encourage healing in the area.

Who might this stretch be appropriate for?

This exercise might be good for anyone who has been experiencing pain on or around the bone on the outside of their elbow for more than 1-2 weeks. It is important that you do not use this stretch for situations where large amounts of pain have started suddenly, but rather this stretch is appropriate for people whose pain has come on gradually and is at a relatively low level. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice. Contact a physiotherapist or other appropriate health professional before trying any new treatment/exercise.

How do I do it?

There is no equipment needed for this stretch, so just ensure you are sitting or standing in a comfortable position with room to straighten your arm in front of you. 

  1. Reach your painful arm out in front of you with your palm facing the floor
  2. With your non-injured hand, reach forward and place it on top of your already extended hand.
  3. Using gentle force, bend the wrist of the injured arm down towards the floor.
  4. Move that wrist down until you feel a comfortable stretch in your wrist, through your forearm, and/or towards your elbow

       Important Tip: The movement should feel like a stretch but should not be painful. As with many exercises assisting in injury rehab, it is important to be using them in the pain-free range. This means not to push the exercise to the point that it hurts. Mild discomfort can be useful at times, but we do not want to risk worsening the pain or injury.


If this stretch is too difficult, it can be made easier by bending your wrist slightly less and/or resting your arm on a table to encourage relaxation. You may not be performing the stretch correctly, or you may be ready to progress to more difficult movements if you are finding the stretch to be too easy.

       If this is your first time doing an exercise like this one, you may have some soreness 24-48 hours after completing it for the first time. Take time to rest as needed and consult your physiotherapist or another trusted healthcare professional if it persists. As with all exercise, make sure you are eating healthy, sleeping well, and staying hydrated. 

Stay safe and take care,

Daniel Sedran

Registered Physiotherapist
Owner of First Line Physiotherapy