Exercises for Tendinitis

Exercises for Tendinitis

One of the most commonly reported injuries stemming from work related incidence is called tendinitis. Tendinitis refers to inflammation or swelling and irritation of a tendon. We are all composed of many tendons throughout the body, however, this blog will focus on a few important and often reported injured tendons. The first region of the body we will tackle will be the shoulder. You will be hard pressed to find a job or occupation that does not involve using your arm and shoulder in some form or fashion. Tendinitis is caused by repetitive movements, so often times at a position that involves the same motion or similar motions throughout the day, your body may react with inflammation in the area.

Let’s discuss the general treatment procedure for tendinitis, then we can tackle individual body parts and specific exercises for them. Generally, if a person presents to the Injury Care Center with acute, or recent injury to the tendons, we will want to address any inflammation in the area. In the first twenty-four to forty-two hours after injury, we will instruct the use of ice to the affected area. Following this initial phase of icing, one of our rehabilitation experts may instruct use of heat or ice depending on your presentation and symptoms. After we are able to calm down your symptoms, our goal will be to address any range of motion deficits or tightness in your muscles. Often times, when we experience an injury, we tend to stop moving that body part to avoid causing increased pain. This can lead to subsequent tightness in some muscles and weakness in others. That leads to the last step of the process, which would be to strength areas that have become weakened from the injury and restore your normal function. Again, this is a general oversight, not meant to be comprehensive in nature.

Once you arrive at one of our Injury Care Center facilities, our experts will tailor a program that will directly relate to your impairments and symptoms. Breaking it down even further, we will look at two specific and commonly injured body areas. In the shoulder, one of the more common injured tendons involves the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and their individual tendons. The four muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The tendons from these muscles then attach to our upper arm bone. With repeated movements either over head or even shoulder or waist height, or with lifting heavy weights at any height, you can injure these tendons. 

Following the recovery period when we address your initial symptoms and swelling, I will discuss some specific strengthening exercises you may undergo to assist with your rehabilitation process. The first strengthening exercise may be scapular retraction, or a row. This exercise will help to strengthen what are called your postural and scapular muscles. Ultimately it will assist with elevation of your arm in a pain-free manner. As pictured, you will be asked to stand feet shoulder width apart and pull back on either a machine or TheraBand while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Another exercise to specifically address the rotator cuff may be resisted external or internal rotation of the shoulder. This will target the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff. A rehabilitation specialist will place a towel or roll underneath your arm, which will assist with appropriate posture for the exercise, and ask you to pull either in or out on a machine or band.

One other important exercise that may be included in your program would be a supine punch. This exercise addresses additional scapular muscle strength. You will be asked to lay on a table and straighten the affected arm pointing your fist at the ceiling. Once you attain this position, we will instruct you to lift your shoulder blade off of the table while “punching toward the ceiling”.

These are just a few exercises that may be included in your program to assist with functional strengthening and symptom reduction. Another body region that is commonly injured with repetitive use is the knee. There are two important tendons in the knee region that are often affected. These two tendons are the patellar tendon and the quadriceps tendon. The patellar tendon connects your knee cap to your shin bone. If you have ever had your reflexes tested, this is the region the doctor will tap on that makes you kick your leg out. The quadriceps tendon attaches your knee cap to your thigh muscles above the knee. This tendon is more often injured in a traumatic event such as a fall or high impact. Once again, following the phase where we address your immediate pain and swelling, we will move on to the strengthening portion of rehabilitation.

One exercise that may be included would be straight leg raises. You may find it surprising that you are required to do these leg raises in several different positions that will target your hip muscles as well as your thigh muscles. The reason for this is to increase your overall strength and assist with relieving pressure on your injured knee. To perform this exercise, you may be asked to lay on your back, side, or stomach and lift your injured leg while keeping it completely straight. Another exercise we may include would be a knee extension.

Each facility of the Injury Care Center is equipped with top of the line equipment that help in recovery or your workers compensation injury. This exercise is performed by extending your legs against a weight as pictured. Additionally, we may instruct you to perform a leg curl which will strengthen the opposite muscles of the thigh, the hamstrings. Again, as pictured, we will instruct you to bend your knees against weight. All of these exercises are just snippets of what may be included in your comprehensive program. We are here to help and have the knowledge and motivation to do so!   

Caitlin Shaw


If you would like us to evaluate your injury, please call: 877-444-2422.

Or Visit a location near you:

Injury Care Center
901 W. Ashland Avenue
Glenolden, Pa 19036
Phone: 610-461-6522

Injury Care Center
1502 Upland Street
Chester, Pa 19013

Injury Care Center
3300 Grant Avenue
Suite #20
Philadelphia, PA 19114