Ask Trevor: Pain relief tips for tendonitis?

Ask Trevor: Pain relief tips for tendonitis?

Trevor Petrie - Chief Medical Officer
2 minute read

Emily asks:

I have extensor tendonitis and De Quervain's in both hands.  I work on the computer all day, and I don’t want to give up my career because it is so fulfilling.

My doctor told me to rest my hands but to also follow up with physio for exercise. I’m confused about what to do now because I’m high-risk and afraid to go out for the physio.

I wear splints and use ice daily. Is there anything else I could do for relief?


Certified Hand Therapist Trevor Petrie says:

The most current thinking on tendinitis, in general, is that you need to stress the tendon appropriately to encourage reorganization of injured tissue, increase load tolerance and decrease pain. Sometimes, when a tendon is particularly angry, resting a tendon completely with either an ice or heat pack is the appropriate amount of stress. But doing gentle stretches and exercises, particularly before you work, will help prepare your wrist and thumbs for the work they have to do.

Perhaps you can find a local physio that can do a video chat? I know some of my colleagues have started doing that where I live just so they could keep their clinics running. It's helpful to have someone who can tailor a program specific to your needs since not all repetitive strain injuries and tendinitis are the same.

I've attached some gentle tendon glide finger exercises that you should hopefully be able to do without creating too much stress. Don't do any of these to the point that your pain is increasing. A little initial discomfort the first time through is OK as long as it feels like everything loosens up and pain decreases as you proceed. Don't continue pushing through pain if it keeps increasing.

Instructions for the six-pack hand exercises

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