Exercises to Help with Tendonitis

Updated on April 9th, 2020
Exercises For Tendonitis

Tendonitis is a pretty common condition that mostly occurs in adults above 40 years of age. It is caused by a repetitive impact on the part of the body where the tendons connect muscles and bones.

You can also get tendonitis due to a severe injury. The diagnosis usually involves a physical exam by the doctor but can sometimes also include an MRI and/or an ultrasound according to the severity of the condition and a few other factors. Some symptoms include pain, frozen shoulder, swelling, and inflammation. The most prevalent places where you can get tendonitis are the elbow, knee, shoulder, thumb, and hip.

Did You Know!

Tendonitis (also spelt tendinitis) is a common ailment. In fact, in the U.S., more than 70,000 people miss work each year because of tendonitis (1).

Exercises for Elbow Tendonitis

1. Fist Clench

fist clench

Why does it work?

Fist clench is one of the most common exercises if you have tendonitis in your wrist. It helps in stretching your muscles and reducing swelling in your hand. In addition to that, the tendons in your hand will also thank you as you will feel relief from pain.

How to use?

In order to carry out this exercise, make a fist using the fingers of your affected hand closed over the thumb. Clench your fingers tightly to make a fist. Hold the position for five to ten seconds before releasing it.

How much to do?

Perform this exercise 15-20 times a day.

[Read: KT Tape for Tennis Elbow]

2. Wrist Extension

wrist extention

Why does it work?

Wrist extensors are basically a group of muscles that are responsible for helping us bend the wrist. This exercise works the wrist extensors in your hand to help stretch the affected tendons and provide relief. This is one of the best exercises for wrist tendonitis.

How to do?

Hold a 2-pound dumbbell comfortably in your affected hand while sitting in a chair. Your palm must face down and should rest your elbow on your knee in a comfortable position. Now, extend your wrist while ensuring that the palm is facing down by curling the wrist towards your body. You can also try doing it without any weight if this proves to be too challenging for you.

How much to do?

You must do this exercise 10 times before returning to the starting position.

[ Read: How to Treat Tendonitis Naturally? ]

3. Wrist Turn

wrist turn

Why does it work?

Wrist turn or wrist rotation works in the same manner by working on the inflamed tendons and helping in preserving the mobility of the hand.

How to do?

To do this exercise, simply sit in a comfortable position and rotate your wrist in a clockwise and anticlockwise position.

How much to do?

Do ten sets each of the exercises in the clockwise and anticlockwise position daily for best results.

Exercises for Achilles Tendonitis

1. Calf Stretch

Calf and Plantar Fascia Stretch

Why does it work?

Stretching is always recommended in order to heal and provide relief to irritated tendons. Calf stretch is, therefore, a recommended exercise as it works the calf muscles and reduces swelling as well as inflammation in the affected area. This is one of the best stretches for tendonitis.

How to do?

Face a wall. Extend one foot in front of you with your toes pointing upwards. Now, slowly lean forward on the wall until you feel your calf muscles stretching in the back of your leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds before doing the stretch again.

How much to do?

Repeat the exercise thrice daily.

2. Sitting Heel Raises

Sitting Heel Raises exercise

Why does it work?

This is another exercise for Achilles tendonitis that works wonders. It helps strengthen the muscles and tendons of the affected area to heal the condition quickly.

How to do?

Sit at the edge of a bed or on a chair. Now, place your feet apart shoulder wide. Lift your heels slowly as high as you can. Then, pause and lower them slowly. This is also one of the best exercises for tendonitis in the ankle.

How much to do?

Finish one set of around 25 reps. Repeat this exercise 5-6 times daily

3. Bilateral Heel Drop

Archilles Step

Why does it work?

Bilateral heel drop for tendonitis works for the same reason as the rest of the exercises. It works the tendons thoroughly and helps in preserving mobility. Also, this exercise helps in speeding the recovery process.

How to do?

Stand with one foot placed on a step with the heel raised. Now, lower the heel slowly while keeping your leg straight until your foot and the ground are parallel. After that, push up to the first position with the help of your affected leg to assist.

How much to do?

Perform the exercise 3 x 15 times twice a day. You might feel the pain getting worse during this exercise but do not worry as it will get better.

[ Read: Supplements for Tendonitis ]

Exercises for Shoulder Tendonitis

1. Doorway Stretch

Why does it work?

This exercise helps improve mobility in the affected area and provide relief from pain.

How to do?

Start bt warming up your muscles. For this, stand in an open doorway. Spread your arms to the side in an outward motion. Now, grip the doorway on both sides with each hand below the shoulder height. Now, lean forward until you can feel a slight stretch. Ensure that your back is straight as you lean forward. Shift your weight on your toes. Do not overstretch.

How much to do?

4-5 times twice a day is good enough.

2. Reverse Fly

Reverse Fly

Why does it work?

This exercise really works your shoulder muscles and hence, provides relief to your injured tendons. You can do this exercise using weights according to your comfort. Remember not to overdo it.

How to do?

Stand with your knees slightly bent, and your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Now, keep your back straight and then bend slightly forward at your waist. Holding a lightweight in both your hands, extend the arms, and then raise them in a way that they go away from your body. Make sure not to lock your elbow. As you do this exercise, squeeze the shoulder blades together.

How much to do?

Repeat three sets of the exercise 10 times daily.

3. Side-Lying External Rotation

Lying Down External Rotation

Why does it work?

This exercise is relatively easy and stretches your muscles really well. If done correctly, it can put you on the road to recovery very soon.

How to do?

Lie down in a way that you are lying down on your unaffected arm. Now take your affected arm and bend its elbow at 90 degrees. Rest the elbow of this arm on the side. Remember that your forearm must rest comfortably across your abdomen. Now, hold a light dumbbell with the injured hand while your elbow is still on your side. Raise the dumbbell slowly toward the ceiling.

How much to do?

Repeat three sets of 9-10 side-lying external rotations thrice daily.

[ Read: 10 Essential Oils to Heal Tendonitis at Home ]


1. How can I prevent tendonitis?

As a preventative measure, you can simply consider warming up properly before indulging in workout sessions. This will give your muscles enough time to prepare for the intensive exercises to follow.

2. Is it OK to workout when I have tendonitis?

Yes, but it depends on the workout. Some movements aggravate tendonitis, and some give relief from pain.

3. How long does tendonitis last?

As long as you are not using the joint and damaging the tendon, it should heal within 2-4 weeks, sometimes in 6 weeks.

If you have tendonitis, the most crucial thing to bear in mind is NEVER to push through the pain and not to put too much stress on the affected area. You can end up doing more harm than good, and it will just extend your recovery period. Moreover, you must be patient and not expect these exercises to work in one day or one week. Recovery from tendonitis is a process, and you must give it enough time to see the results.

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