Tendons are tough strips of tissue that connect muscle to bone, allowing muscles to move joints in the body upon contraction and relaxation. Tendons can endure a lot of stress, since they are constantly pulled and stretched during everyday movements. Tendinitis is a condition where the tendons become inflamed or irritated. In the upper body, the hand, wrist, and elbow are common sites where tendinitis occurs. Because these areas are much smaller compared to the rest of the body, the spaces where tendons run through are very narrow. Inflammation from trauma or overuse injuries can cause swelling and pain.
- Pain in the area, difficulty using the hand or arm
- Swelling/ stiffness and decreased mobility of the joint
- Overuse injuries
- Sports or certain occupations that involve manual labor or repetitive type of work (carpentry, mechanics, office work)
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR TENDINITIS
Before you start physical therapy, your doctor may prescribe a resting splint to be worn for a specified length of time, to allow the inflammation to subside.
To treat tendinitis, a physical therapy session will include ice, ultrasound or electric stimulation to decrease pain and swelling. Your physical therapist will also assess and massage/ stretch tight muscles in the forearm or hand.
When pain and swelling are reduced, you will be taught gentle stretches and range of motion exercises to gradually return flexibility and mobility to the area. If you have an office job, your physical therapist will discuss proper workplace ergonomics to put your hands and arms in a better position while you work. The last part of therapy will include strengthening exercises that will improve endurance in your muscles and stability of your joints, to prevent future exacerbations from occurring.