Elbow Arthritis Exercises for Pain Relief

Keep your elbows from feeling stiff with these physical-therapist-approved exercises.

Woman stretching left arm across body

Did you know that three different joints make up your elbow?1 These are the joints that 1, allow you to bend and straighten your arm, 2, allow you to face your palm up and down, and 3, allow you to rotate your lower arm. So if you’re experiencing elbow arthritis, there’s a lot of discomfort and pain that can come with it.2 “Lots of muscles cross the elbow joint that you may not realize either in the upper body or the forearm,” explains Blake Dircksen, PT, DPT, CSCS, orthopedic physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy & Fitness in New York City. Translation: Unfortunately, a quick shakeout of the arms won’t dissipate that achy feeling.

If you experience arthritis pain in the elbow, consider using Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel. It contains diclofenac sodium, an effective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine which is clinically proven to relieve arthritis pain.

On top of that, add in these elbow physical therapy exercises that Dircksen recommends. Chances are good that you’ll be spreading your wings with less pain before you know it.

[NOTE: Before trying any exercise, consult with your health care provider to be sure these movements are safe for you.]

1. Banded Rows

Wrap resistance band around column, bar, or any stable anchor that won’t move. Facing anchor point, hold resistance band in either hand, and step away from anchor until band has no slack, arms extended forward.* Keeping back flat, bend knees and hinge slightly forward at hips so head to tailbone is about a 45-degree angle. Squeezing shoulder blades together, slowly pull elbows back and hands as close to waist as possible, creating resistance on the band. Slowly lower elbows and hands back down. Continue for 10 to 12 repetitions.**

*If you have trouble gripping the band, lasso it around your wrist instead.

**If you only have a small band, place it over a column, bar, or anchor point, and repeat exercise with single arm. Use free arm to help brace body by placing hand on column (or anchor) or forearm on same side knee.

2. Banded Pull-Aparts

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold onto one side of band with both hands, hands about six to eight inches apart. Keeping shoulders down and relaxed, pull band apart as far as you’re able, hold for a second, then release. Continue for 10 to 12 repetitions.

3. Banded Bicep Curl

Stand with feet about shoulder width apart on top of one side of the band. Hold the other side of the band in both hands, arms at sides. Keeping back straight, slight bend in knees, and with elbows glued to sides, slowly bend elbows to curl hands up to biceps. Slowly lower back down. Continue for 10 to 12 repetitions.

Add these exercises into your weekly routine and as you strengthen over time, chances are good that your pain will decrease.

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