Tendonitis—What You Should Know

Tendonitis—an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle.

Your tendons are essential for proper joint function—so when they become injured or inflamed, joint movement becomes impaired and you may experience symptoms such as pain and swelling. Tendonitis can strike any of the tendons in your body, but the most commonly affected are the elbow and shoulder tendons.


What Causes Tendonitis?

Injuries and overuse are the most common causes of tendonitis. Other tendonitis culprits may include tightness in your muscles or tendons, high-intensity activities or sports, and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The older you get, your tendons begin to weaken, leaving you more susceptible to tendonitis. Or, if you have a job or play in a sport that requires repetitive movements or activity, you are also at risk. There are many activities that can cause tendonitis which may include:

  • Gardening
  • Carpentry
  • Cleaning house
  • Painting
  • Shoveling and raking
  • Scrubbing
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Pitching or throwing
  • Incorrect posture
  • Poor stretching prior to exercise or activity
  • Poor conditioning prior to exercise

What are some physical therapy treatment options for tendonitis?

The primary goal of any physical therapy program is to reduce pain caused by tendonitis and increase your range of motion. Once any pain and inflammation associated with tendonitis have subsided, strengthening exercises can help patients prevent future injury and suffering. You will also learn tips on how to exercise safely and efficiently. There are several benefits physical therapy provides for tendonitis treatment:

  • Physical therapy can increase range of motion
  • Physical therapy helps to strengthen weakened tendons and relieve pain
  • Stretching exercises will help to improve range of motion or flexibility helping to relieve pain from tendonitis
  • RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce the activity that’s causing tendonitis and to decrease swelling and pain
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