Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor

At Home Assessments: The Elbow and Forearm

The forearm houses the muscles, nerves and tendons that control use of and range in your elbow, wrists and hands. If you’ve ever had to go a day or longer without full use of your hands, you can appreciate how vital the function of your forearm truly is! Because these structures are used in nearly every waking activity, it’s no wonder that these areas will develop adhesion due to overuse. When these muscles are constantly contracted while being used, the blood flow is decreased. And when less oxygen is able to be delivered, adhesion forms.

Adhesion acts like glue on muscles and tendons and doesn’t allow things to move like they should. It’s the most common cause of pain and limited range of motion in the body; yet, it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition! Very few providers know what adhesion is and even less know how to actually treat it effectively. Incorrect diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, and as you may already know, prolonged and worsening symptoms.

There are three main classes of symptoms when dealing with forearm conditions:

  1. aching
  2. tingling or burning
  3. sharpness

Aching pain is typically a by-product of inflammation from nearby tissue or joint damage. Ignoring this pain will typically lead to the latter two and should be not be ignored or chalked up as ‘normal.’ Tingling or burning lets you know that a nerve is getting stuck or trapped at a location it would normally be able to slide easily through. Lastly, sharp pain typically occurs when the bony attachments of a muscle or tendon are damaged. This kind of pain signal is your body telling you “there’s a big problem.” In this situation, it is extremely important to come in and have it fully diagnosed before it progresses past conservative care.

So how can you tell if your forearm is functioning well or if you should seek medical help? If you have any of the forearm symptoms above, that’s your first indicator to start investigating. Below we’ll guide you through a simple at home assessment to see how well one set of forearm muscles can move, a solid indicator of overall function.




Place your forearm flat against the wall and drop the elbow just below the shoulder.



Take the opposite hand and try to pull your fingers back as far as you can while keeping the forearm flat on the wall. The fingers should easily be able to pull back to around 65 degrees of extension, while the wrist should have at least 80 degrees of extension.


If you can’t pass the test above easily and with only slight stretching in the forearm, you are at a high risk for future injury. When your functional movement is limited, repetitive motions will overload the soft tissues. This overload will cause adhesion or scar tissue to develop which can eventually lead to tissue degeneration.


If you have been struggling to find relief from elbow, wrist or hand pain or have been diagnosed with tendinitis that has not completely resolved in 6 weeks, most likely the diagnosis was wrong! You need a second opinion! You need the help of a soft tissue expert! At Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine we specialize in finding and fixing adhesion. Dr. Hommer is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. If you are experiencing forearm or elbow pain and want a long term solution call our office today (515) 963-1641 !