A person is clasping their tendonitis-affected wrist. Wrist Tendonitis

Wrist tendonitis treatment

Roland Liebscher-Bracht in a white shirt is kindly smiling.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

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Wrist Tendonitis Treatment Made Easy

Wrist tendonitis (also known as tenosynovitis) is an unpleasant condition that involves inflamed or irritated tendons in the wrist. Causes can be: injuries, arthritis, diabetes, lack of (varied) exercise, writing, typing, physical work, or sports. While medication, injections, and surgeries are an option in the worst cases, another way to treat wrist tendonitis involves regular exercise. This way, a worsening of the condition can be prevented and existing pain relieved. We’ve developed a simple 3-minute stretching sequence that can be done anywhere and is sure to soothe the burning sensation in the wrist. Watch the video to find out more or skip ahead to the written instructions below!

Your Personal Pain Scale

While you are exercising, pay attention to your personal pain scale. This is your body’s gauge that measures the intensity at which you exercise from 1 to 10.
One would be like pushing your finger into your forehead. You’d feel a little pressure, but that’s it. You’ve gone above a 10 if your breathing becomes irregular or you feel yourself tense up. For each exercise, aim for an intensity between 8 and 9. If you find that you are experiencing pain that’s higher than 9, reduce the intensity so you can continue exercising without pain.

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Wrist Tendonitis Treatment: Quick & Easy Stretches

A woman is standing in front of a chair, her palm placed on the seat, the fingers pointing towards her knees.

Wrist Tendonitis Stretch: Step 1

  • Grab a chair and position it in front of you, with the seat facing you.
  • Now place the palm of the affected hand on the seat, fingers pointing towards you.
  • Make sure to keep your legs and back straight. Ideally, your back and legs form a 90° angle.
  • Your arm should be stretched out, too.
  • You should feel a pull in your wrist already.

A woman is stretching her wrist using the seat of a chair. One hand is on the seat, with the fingers facing her knees.

  • Slowly move backwards with your hips.
  • Do not lift up your palm off the chair.
  • Breathe in and out.
  • Whenever you exhale, increase the stretch.
  • Keep up the wrist tendonitis stretch for two minutes.

A woman is stretching her wrist: her palm rests on a chair, the wrist lifted up.

Wrist Tendonitis Stretch: Step 2

  • Keep moving back with your body until you have to lift the ball of your hand off the chair as indicated on the picture.
  • Your arm stays straight while you do this, don’t bend your elbow.
  • Breathe in and out, slowly increasing the stretch.
  • Do this for another two minutes.
  • Slowly leave the exercise.
Treat Your Wrists Right

You can do this wrist tendonitis stretch whenever you want and wherever you are:

  • in the office,
  • at home,
  • outside on a walk in the park.

If you do the exercise regularly, your wrist tendonitis will improve in no time at all and you can keep them healthy and pain-free.

The Best Exercises and Tips Against Wrist Pain

Download our FREE PDF guide featuring our 6 most effective exercises for getting rid of Wrist Pain. Wrist Pain

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Then we would be happy if you shared it with your friends: Tendonitis is when a tendon swells (becomes inflamed) after a tendon injury. It can cause joint pain, stiffness, and affect how a tendon moves. You can treat mild tendon injuries yourself and should feel better within 2 to 3 weeks.

How to treat tendonitis yourself

Follow these steps for 2 to 3 days to help manage pain and to support the tendon.

  • Rest: try to avoid moving the tendon for 2 to 3 days.
  • Ice: put an ice pack (or try a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) on the tendon for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Support: wrap an elastic bandage around the area, use a tube bandage, or use a soft brace. You can buy these from pharmacies. It should be snug, not tight.

It’s important to take a bandage or brace off before going to bed. When you can move the injured area without pain stopping you, try to keep moving it so the joint does not become stiff. To help prevent further injury or pain, try to avoid:

  • heavy lifting, strong gripping or twisting actions that make the symptoms worse
  • playing sports, until the tendon has recovered

A pharmacist may help with tendonitis

A pharmacist can recommend the best painkiller for you. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help to ease pain. They may also recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) cream or gel you rub on your skin. Find a pharmacy

Symptoms of tendonitis

There are tendons all over your body. They connect your muscles to bones in your joints, for example, in your knees, elbows and shoulders. The main symptoms of tendonitis are:

  • pain in a tendon that gets worse when you move
  • difficulty moving the joint
  • feeling a grating or crackling sensation when you move the tendon
  • swelling, sometimes with heat or redness

Non-urgent advice: Go to a minor injuries unit or see a GP if:

  • your symptoms do not improve within a few weeks
  • you’re in a lot of pain
  • you think you have ruptured (torn) a tendon

If the pain is sudden and severe, and happened during an accident or activity, you may have ruptured a tendon. You might have heard a popping or snapping sound when the pain started. If your tendon is ruptured, you may be referred to a specialist for assessment. You may be referred to hospital for an X-ray or scan if your doctor thinks you may have another injury, such as a broken bone. Find a minor injuries unit

Treatment for tendonitis from a GP

A GP may prescribe a stronger painkiller or suggest you use a NSAID cream or gel on your skin to ease pain. If the pain is severe, lasts a long time, or your movement is limited, you may be referred for physiotherapy. You can also choose to book appointments privately. If physiotherapy does not help, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in muscles and bones (orthopaedic specialist) or a local musculoskeletal clinic. Some people with severe tendonitis may be offered:

  • steroid injections, which may provide short-term pain relief (this cannot be offered for problems with the achilles tendon)
  • shockwave therapy, which may help with healing
  • platelet rich plasma injections (PRP), which may help with healing
  • surgery to remove damaged tissue or repair a ruptured tendon

Find a physiotherapist

Preventing tendon problems

Tendonitis is usually caused by sudden, sharp movements or repetitive exercise, such as running, jumping or throwing. Tendonitis can also be caused by repetitive movements, or having poor posture or technique while at work or when playing a sport. This is known as repetitive strain injury (RSI). You cannot always prevent tendonitis. But there are things you can do to help reduce the chance of a tendon injury.


  • warm up before exercising and gently stretch afterwards
  • wear supportive shoes for exercise, or insoles
  • take regular breaks from repetitive exercises


  • do not over-exercise tired muscles
  • do not start a new sport without some training or practice
  • do not do the same repetitive exercises

Video: what is tendonitis?

This animation explains what tendonitis is and what causes it. Media last reviewed: 1 April 2021
Media review due: 1 April 2024 Page last reviewed: 15 July 2020
Next review due: 15 July 2023


Usually, your doctor can diagnose tendinitis during the physical exam alone. Your doctor may order X-rays or other imaging tests if it’s necessary to rule out other conditions that may be causing your signs and symptoms.


The goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve your pain and reduce inflammation. Often, taking care of tendinitis on your own — including rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers — may be all the treatment that you need.


For tendinitis, your doctor may recommend these medications:

  • Pain relievers. Taking aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) may relieve discomfort associated with tendinitis. Topical creams with anti-inflammatory medication — popular in Europe and becoming increasingly available in the United States — also may be effective in relieving pain without the potential side effects of taking anti-inflammatory medications by mouth.
  • Corticosteroids. Sometimes your doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication around a tendon to relieve tendinitis. Injections of cortisone reduce inflammation and can help ease pain. Corticosteroids are not recommended for tendinitis lasting over three months (chronic tendinitis), as repeated injections may weaken a tendon and increase your risk of rupturing the tendon.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP treatment involves taking a sample of your own blood and spinning the blood to separate out the platelets and other healing factors. The solution is then injected into the area of chronic tendon irritation. Though research is still underway to determine optimal uses, concentrations and techniques, PRP injection in the region of chronic tendon irritation has shown promise in the treatment of many chronic tendon conditions.

Physical therapy

You might benefit from a program of specific exercise designed to stretch and strengthen the affected muscle-tendon unit. For instance, eccentric strengthening — which emphasizes contraction of a muscle while it’s lengthening — has been shown to be a very effective treatment for many chronic tendon conditions, and is now considered first line treatment.

Surgical and other procedures

In situations where physical therapy hasn’t resolved symptoms, your doctor might suggest:

  • Dry needling. This procedure involves making small holes in the tendon with a fine needle to stimulate factors involved in tendon healing.
  • Ultrasonic treatment. This minimally invasive procedure uses a small incision to insert a special device that removes tendon scar tissue with ultrasonic sound waves.
  • Surgery. Depending on the severity of your tendon injury, surgical repair may be needed, especially if the tendon has torn away from the bone.

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Lifestyle and home remedies

To treat tendinitis at home, R.I.C.E. is the acronym to remember — rest, ice, compression and elevation. This treatment can help speed your recovery and help prevent further problems.

  • Rest. Avoid activities that increase the pain or swelling. Don’t try to work or play through the pain. Rest is essential to tissue healing. But it doesn’t mean complete bed rest. You can do other activities and exercises that don’t stress the injured tendon. Swimming and water exercise may be well-tolerated.
  • Ice. To decrease pain, muscle spasm and swelling, apply ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Ice packs, ice massage or slush baths with ice and water all can help. For an ice massage, freeze a plastic foam cup full of water so that you can hold the cup while applying the ice directly to the skin.
  • Compression. Because swelling can result in loss of motion in an injured joint, compress the area until the swelling has ceased. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages are best.
  • Elevation. If tendinitis affects your knee, raise the affected leg above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

Although rest is a key part of treating tendinitis, prolonged inactivity can cause stiffness in your joints. After a few days of completely resting the injured area, gently move it through its full range of motion to maintain joint flexibility. You can also try over-the-counter medications — such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) — in an attempt to reduce the discomfort associated with tendinitis.

Preparing for your appointment

You may initially discuss your signs and symptoms with your family doctor, but you may need referral to a specialist in sports medicine or rheumatology — the treatment of conditions that affect the joints.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

For tendinitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • Will I need to have any tests done?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • I have other medical problems. How best can I manage them together?
  • Will I need to limit my activities?
  • Are there any self-care measures I can try?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend for information about my condition?

What to expect from your doctor

During the physical exam, your doctor will check for points of tenderness around the affected area. The precise location of your pain can help determine if it’s caused by other problems. Your doctor will also move your affected joint into different positions to try to replicate your signs and symptoms. Questions your doctor may ask include:

  • Where do you feel pain?
  • When did your pain begin?
  • Did it begin suddenly or occur gradually?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What hobbies or recreational activities do you participate in?
  • Have you been instructed in proper technique for your activity?
  • Does your pain occur or worsen during certain activities, such as kneeling or climbing stairs?
  • Have you recently experienced a fall or any other kind of injury?
  • What kind of treatments have you tried at home?
  • What effect did those treatments have?
  • What, if anything, appears to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?

Nov. 03, 2020

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