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Physical Therapy for Wrist Tendonitis – Information, Exercises, and More

Are you experiencing wrist tendonitis? 

The pain is excruciating and you don’t know what to do about it. You’re also worried the pain in your wrist will never improve.

When trying to cope with wrist tendonitis symptoms, it can feel overwhelmingly painful.

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage wrist tendonitis and alleviate the pain. 

In this guide, we’ll cover what causes wrist tendonitis, common symptoms, and treatment options, including how physical therapy can help.


What Is Wrist Tendonitis?

Wrist tendonitis is a condition that occurs when the tendons that attach the wrist to the forearm become inflamed.

The pain and inflammation can make it difficult to move your hand, wrist, and fingers.

What Causes Wrist Tendonitis?

The tendon supports the joint in the hand and can become inflamed when there is excessive use or wearing of the joints.

Wrist tendonitis is a common problem that several factors — including repetitive motions, age, and arthritis — can cause.

Repetitive Motions

When there is a pattern of repetitive motions in the hand, forearm, and wrist, tendonitis may become an issue for some.

People who may be at risk for wrist tendonitis include those whose work includes regular lifting, typing, or gripping, such as:

  • Factory workers
  • Construction workers
  • Receptionists; and
  • Landscapers

According to a University of Michigan study, people who engage in these types of daily work are 29 times more likely to develop wrist tendonitis.


Wrist tendonitis can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over 40 years of age. 

This is likely because repetitive motions often cause wrist tendonitis. As we age, our ability to perform these motions decreases, leading to the development of wrist tendonitis.


Wrist tendonitis can also result from arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to pain and stiffness in the arms and legs. 

Sometimes, arthritis may also cause damage to the tendons in the arms and hands. Damage to a tendon can lead to wrist tendonitis.

Wrist Tendonitis Symptoms

Often, wrist tendonitis includes the following symptoms:

  • Wrist pain; and
  • Difficulty performing day-to-day tasks
  • Swelling and stiffness of the wrist and hand
  • Decreased strength and range of motion

Patients may also experience a loss of grip strength.

Consider the following symptoms to determine if you should seek medical attention.


One of the major symptoms of wrist tendonitis is pain. 

Pain can be a sign that the tendonitis is getting worse and may require treatment. 

But the pain may also be a symptom of other conditions, such as arthritis or a torn tendon. 

Therefore, it’s important to seek medical attention to know the cause of your pain. 


Wrist tendonitis is a condition that can cause swelling in different places on the hand, such as: 

  • Along the wrist
  • The base of your fingers; and
  • Between the pinkie finger or thumb; and

The swelling associated with wrist tendonitis is due to the inflammation of the tendons.

Swelling may be noticeable, but it is not always easy to tell if wrist tendonitis is causing it. 


Other symptoms that may indicate wrist tendonitis include pain when: 

  • Moving the hand
  • Difficulty gripping things; and 
  • Feeling of stiffness or tightness in the wrist 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation.

Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

There are many treatments available for wrist tendonitis, depending on the underlying cause.

Treatment options may include rest, ice, medication, and physical therapy.


Medications can treat the pain that’s experienced with wrist tendonitis.

Many physicians will prescribe a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, as this is often effective in reducing inflammation and pain.

Other medications that can be prescribed include:

Treatment typically lasts for several weeks and should taper off gradually as the inflammation subsides.

Ice and Rest

Treatment typically includes ice, rest, and rehabilitation.

Ice may reduce inflammation and pain, while rest aids in healing the tendon.

Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy, typically follows this common treatment.

Physical Therapy

Treatment for wrist tendonitis can also include physical therapy for the hands and wrist to help improve movement and reduce pain.

Physical therapy exercises are used to:

  • Stretch the injured tendon; and
  • Strengthen the surrounding muscles

Physical therapy is often recommended as the first step in treating tendonitis, as it can help to improve range of motion and flexibility.

Wrist Tendonitis Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Yes, physical therapy can help provide treatment for wrist tendonitis.

Physical therapists specialize in helping individuals with wrist tendonitis …

  • Recover from their injuries
  • Improve their range of motion and flexibility; and 
  • Return to their previous everyday routines and sports

… by strengthening the muscles and tendons around the wrist.

As experts in the field of physical movement, physical therapists can also teach you how to manage your wrist tendonitis through education and prescribed treatment plans.

Physical therapy treatment plans and exercises that may help include:

  • Massage to reduce stiffness and inflammation
  • Manual therapy to help get your wrists moving properly
  • Range of motion exercises to help increase mobility; and
  • Strengthening exercises to improve the condition of your wrist tendons

If you are experiencing wrist tendonitis symptoms seek medical help as soon as possible.

The sooner you treat the condition, the better your chances of recovering fully.

Best Wrist Tendonitis Exercises

Consulting with a Doctor of Physical Therapy is the most effective way to ensure you’re performing the correct exercises to treat wrist tendonitis.

You should also have an individualized therapy plan and progression of care to ensure the best possible treatment for you.

Exercises for wrist tendonitis should focus on:

  • Restoring range of motion
  • Strengthening the tendon; and
  • Reducing inflammation

The best exercises for wrist tendonitis are those that stretch and strengthen the tendons while minimizing stress on the surrounding structures.

Range of motion exercises can include:

Strength training should concentrate on the wrist flexors and extensors, using slow-tempo movements that do not overload the muscles.

Strength exercises can focus on:

  • Resistance band work
  • Machine resistance; and
  • Weightlifting

Remember: Do not attempt a physical therapy treatment without the aid of a physical therapist.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Wrist Tendonitis

There are many treatments for wrist tendonitis, and the best approach depends on the individual’s symptoms and condition.

That’s why you need a team of highly qualified therapists who will work with you to find the best treatment plan.

At In Motion O.C., we offer an effective and extensive physical therapy experience.  

And we have the testimonials to show it — check out In Motion O.C. on Yelp

We have helped hundreds of patients, like you, recover from wrist tendonitis.

Our past and present clients have made it known that we are the #1 Physical Therapist in the U.S.

If you are experiencing wrist tendonitis, please contact In Motion O.C. today to schedule a consultation.

In Motion O.C.