When the tendons in your arm become swollen, you may experience pain in your forearm, wrist and elbow. Known as tennis elbow, this is one of the more common elbow problems people experience, so you’re not alone. Because repetitive motion is required in many professions, this condition is not limited to tennis players. Anyone from a construction worker who uses a screwdriver every day to a surgeon who performs the same motions with intricate tools for hours at a time can experience tennis elbow. Here are some ways physical therapy can help ease the pain and prevent the condition from recurring.

  1. Decrease Healing Time

In order for any injury to heal, it needs the nutrients and oxygen provided through blood. Because tendons don’t normally get as much blood as the muscles, they can take longer to heal.  Doing the right exercises and stretches in physical therapy can increase the blood flow to your inflamed tendons and help them heal faster. You’ll be back at the top of your game (or scaffolding) in no time.

  1. Improve Forearm Muscles

A physical therapist can show you safe exercises to do both in the office at on your own at home. These exercises can strengthen the muscles in your forearms, taking some of the unnecessary strain off your tendons. They can also improve your flexibility so the tendons don’t become as easily inflamed. Although they may look silly, achieving proper forearm strength can greatly reduce the chances of elbow pain and tennis elbow.

  1. Teach Alternative Motions

In many cases, performing repetitive motions even after tennis elbow has healed can cause the condition to flare up again. And again. And again. To help avoid this, a physical therapist may be able to teach you ways to perform motions using a different grip or engaging alternate muscles. While this may take some practice on your part (you might miss a few shots or drop a tool), it might be able to prevent future elbow pain.