Physical Therapy for Tendinitis: Exercises and Techniques for Relief

Physical Therapy for Tendinitis: Exercises and Techniques for Relief

Tendinitis is a common condition that affects people of all ages, particularly those involved in repetitive activities or sports. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment and management of tendinitis, offering non-invasive methods to reduce pain, improve function, and support the healing process. This article outlines the benefits of physical therapy for tendinitis and provides specific exercises and techniques to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Tendinitis:
  1. Pain Reduction: Targeted exercises and manual therapy techniques help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected tendons.
  2. Improved Mobility: Physical therapy restores the range of motion and flexibility, allowing for better movement and function.
  3. Strengthening: Strengthening exercises support the muscles around the affected tendon, providing stability and reducing strain.
  4. Prevention: Education on proper techniques and ergonomic adjustments can prevent recurrence and further tendon damage.
Exercises and Techniques for Tendinitis Relief:

1. Stretching Exercises

Stretching is vital for maintaining flexibility and preventing tightness in the tendons.
  • Wrist Flexor Stretch: Extend one arm in front of you with the palm facing up. Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers back toward your body until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. Keep your back leg straight and your heel on the ground. Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.
  • Shoulder Stretch: Bring one arm across your chest and use the opposite hand to press your arm toward your chest. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

2. Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the muscles around the affected tendon can provide better support and reduce the risk of further injury.
  • Eccentric Wrist Extension: Sit with your forearm resting on a table, palm facing down, and a lightweight in your hand. Slowly lower the weight below the table level, then use your other hand to lift it back to the starting position. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
  • Theraband Exercises: Use a theraband to perform resistance exercises, such as shoulder rotations and lateral raises, to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
  • Toe Raises: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly rise onto your toes and then lower back down. Perform 15-20 repetitions to strengthen your calves.

3. Manual Therapy Techniques

Manual therapy can be performed by a physical therapist to reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Massage: Gentle massage around the affected tendon can increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension.
  • Myofascial Release: A technique that involves applying sustained pressure to the connective tissues to relieve pain and restore motion.
  • Joint Mobilizations: Techniques to improve the range of motion in joints adjacent to the affected tendon.

4. Cold and Heat Therapy

Alternating cold and heat therapy can reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Cold Therapy: Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation.
  • Heat Therapy: Use a warm compress or heating pad for 15-20 minutes to relax muscles and improve blood flow before stretching exercises.

5. Activity Modification and Ergonomics

Adjusting daily activities and improving ergonomics can prevent strain on tendons.
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Ensure that your workstation is ergonomically designed to reduce strain on tendons. Adjust your chair, desk, and computer setup to maintain proper posture.
  • Activity Modification: Modify activities that aggravate your tendinitis. For example, use ergonomic tools and avoid repetitive motions that strain the affected tendon.
Physical therapy offers a comprehensive approach to managing tendinitis, providing exercises and techniques that reduce pain, improve mobility, and prevent recurrence. Incorporating stretching, strengthening, manual therapy, and activity modifications into your routine can significantly enhance tendon health and recovery. Consult with a physical therapist to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and condition.
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