Wrist Tendonitis: Causes, Symptoms and Physiotherapy Treatment

Tendonitis in the wrist, also known as “wrist tendonitis,” can be a real hindrance to your performance and daily activities. If you’ve ever experienced discomfort, pain, or limited mobility in your wrist, this blog is here to shed light on the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for this condition. 

Whether you’re an enthusiastic athlete, a dedicated gym-goer, or simply someone who enjoys an active lifestyle, wrist tendonitis can impact your overall well-being and limit your ability to perform at your best. There are, however, comprehensive and highly effective treatments available that reduce the impact of wrist tendonitis and prevent recurrences. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the root causes of wrist tendonitis, unravel its symptoms, and provide you with valuable insights into the most effective treatment options available.

What is Wrist Tendonitis?

Wrist tendonitis is when the tendons in the wrist become irritated and inflamed. This causes wrist pain that can affect all areas of your daily life, from writing to cooking, to fitness and driving. Symptoms of wrist tendonitis include

  • Stiffness and pain in the wrist
  • Soreness and tenderness when pressure is applied
  • Restricted range of motion in the wrist joint
  • Swelling that may be accompanied by redness or heat

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait to see a physiotherapist. Early treatment will help you improve faster, minimising your risk of recurring injuries.

What Are the Wrist Tendonitis Symptoms?

Recognising the early signs of wrist tendonitis is crucial for timely intervention and effective treatment. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  1. Pain and Tenderness: Wrist tendonitis typically manifests as pain and tenderness along the affected tendon. You may experience discomfort when moving your wrist or applying pressure to the affected area.
  2. Swelling and Inflammation: Inflammation around the affected tendon can lead to visible swelling and a feeling of warmth in the wrist region.
  3. Limited Range of Motion: Wrist tendonitis can restrict the range of motion in your wrist, making it challenging to perform daily activities or sports movements that involve wrist flexion and extension.
  4. Weakness and Instability: As the condition progresses, you may notice weakness and instability in your wrist, which can affect your grip strength and overall wrist stability.
  5. Pain Worsening with Activity: Pain and discomfort may intensify during or after physical activities that involve repetitive wrist movements, such as lifting weights, playing racquet sports, or typing.

Stiffness in the Morning: Some individuals with wrist tendonitis may experience stiffness and discomfort in the morning, which can gradually improve with movement throughout the day.

Remember, if you experience any of these symptoms persistently or find them affecting your daily life, it’s essential to seek professional evaluation and treatment promptly.

What Are the Wrist Tendonitis Causes?

So what exactly causes tendonitis in the wrist? Understanding the underlying causes of this condition can help you prevent its onset and manage the condition effectively. Here are some common contributing factors:

  • Overuse and Repetitive Motions: Engaging in repetitive movements that strain the wrist tendons, such as typing, using a computer mouse or trackpad, playing musical instruments, or participating in sports, can lead to tendonitis in the wrist over time. This is a vast portion of the population, so it’s good to be aware of this very common cause.
  • Inadequate Warm-up and Cool-down: Failing to warm up adequately before physical activity and skipping cool-down exercises afterwards can increase the risk of developing wrist tendonitis.
  • Incorrect Technique: Incorrect form and technique during sports or exercise can place excessive stress on the wrist tendons, leading to inflammation and injury.
  • Poor Ergonomics: Spending prolonged hours in activities that involve awkward wrist positions, such as using a poorly positioned computer mouse or keyboard, can contribute to wrist tendonitis.
  • Age and Degeneration: As we age, our tendons may become less resilient, increasing the likelihood of tendonitis. Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also heighten the risk.
  • Sudden Impact or Trauma: An acute injury or impact to the wrist can result in tendonitis, especially if the tendons are stretched or torn during the incident.

How to Diagnose Wrist Tendonitis

Accurate diagnosis is vital for implementing the most appropriate treatment plan. If you suspect tendonitis in the wrist, here’s how the diagnosis process typically unfolds.

Your healthcare provider will start by gathering information about your symptoms, medical history, and any recent activities or injuries that may have contributed to your wrist pain. A thorough physical examination of your wrist will be conducted, evaluating areas of tenderness, range of motion, and signs of inflammation. 

In some cases, imaging studies such as X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI may be ordered to assess the extent of damage and rule out other potential conditions. Specific clinical tests, like the Finkelstein test or the Phalen test, may be performed to assess the function and stability of the wrist tendons.

In complex or severe cases, your healthcare provider may refer you to a hand specialist or orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation and treatment. 

Remember, early diagnosis and intervention can lead to faster recovery and better outcomes. If you experience persistent wrist pain or suspect wrist tendonitis, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and professional guidance. Proper diagnosis is the first step toward effective management and regaining the health and functionality of your wrist.

Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for wrist tendonitis. Your Sports Focus physio can put you on a personalised physiotherapy program that includes:

Pain management

Your physiotherapy treatment will control the inflammation, allowing the tendon to heal. Your Sports Focus physio will help you detect and avoid painful movements and help you correct incorrect postures to reduce stress on the wrist. Depending on your injury, a wrist splint may be applied to help the tendons heal.

Exercise therapy

Depending on your specific injury, your physio can identify appropriate strengthening exercises for you. This addresses the movement dysfunction that leads to tendonitis. A personalised program will help you meet your individual needs and goals. You can continue doing these exercises after your treatment cycle has been completed.

Range of motion exercises

We can take you through stretches and exercises to reduce stiffness in the wrist, hand and arm and enable you to start moving adequately again.

Functional training

When your symptoms start to improve, we may start showing you how to correct dysfunctional movement patterns. For instance, we can show you the right position for typing on a keyboard. This will help you return to your daily activities pain-free. It will also help you avoid doing further damage to your wrist tendons.

If you’re experiencing any pain or stiffness in your wrist, make sure you give Sports Focus Physiotherapy a call. We’ll help treat the injury so you can keep on with your normal day-to-day activities.

Home Remedies

While seeking professional treatment is crucial for wrist tendonitis, there are several home remedies you can incorporate into your routine to support your recovery and alleviate symptoms. Here are some effective home remedies to consider:


Resting your wrist is essential for allowing inflamed tendons to heal. Consider using a wrist splint or brace to immobilise the affected area during periods of rest or while engaging in activities that may strain the wrist.


Elevating your wrist above heart level can help reduce swelling and promote better circulation. Prop your wrist up with pillows while resting or sleeping to encourage the body’s natural healing process.


Applying ice to the affected area can effectively reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth and apply it to your wrist for about 15-20 minutes several times a day.


Gentle exercises can help improve wrist strength, flexibility, and mobility during the healing process. Consult with your healthcare provider or physiotherapist to learn safe and effective exercises for your condition.


Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. However, it’s essential to use them under the guidance of a healthcare professional and follow the recommended dosage.

Remember that while these home remedies can provide relief, they should complement professional treatment rather than replace it. Always consult with your healthcare provider to ensure the appropriate application of these remedies for your specific condition.

When is it Necessary to Have Surgery?

In most cases, tendonitis wrist conditions can be effectively managed with conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medication. However, there are instances when surgery may be considered:

  1. Failure of Conservative Treatments: If conservative treatments do not alleviate symptoms or improve the condition after an extended period, surgery may be considered as a next step.
  2. Tendon Rupture: In severe cases, wrist tendonitis can lead to tendon rupture, where the tendon tears completely. Surgical repair may be necessary to restore proper function and stability to the wrist.
  3. Chronic Tendonitis: Chronic or recurring wrist tendonitis that significantly impacts daily activities and quality of life may warrant surgical intervention to address the underlying cause and prevent further damage.
  4. Structural Abnormalities: Certain structural abnormalities or anatomical factors may contribute to wrist tendonitis, and surgery may be necessary to correct these issues and provide long-term relief.

It’s essential to have a thorough evaluation by a hand specialist or orthopedic surgeon to determine if surgery is the most appropriate course of action for your wrist tendonitis. The decision to undergo surgery should be a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare provider, taking into account your individual needs and treatment goals.

In conclusion, while surgery is not always necessary for wrist tendonitis, it may be an option in specific cases where conservative treatments have not been effective. As with any medical decision, consulting with a qualified healthcare professional is essential to receive personalised and evidence-based recommendations for your condition.

How Can Sports Focus Help Me?

At Sports Focus, we’re dedicated to helping you conquer wrist tendonitis and get back to doing what you love with confidence and ease. Our team of skilled and experienced physiotherapists understands the unique challenges that tendonitis in the wrist can pose for athletes and active individuals. With our comprehensive approach to treatment, we offer personalised care that addresses your specific needs and goals.

When you choose Sports Focus as your partner in recovery, you can expect a range of effective treatments tailored to your condition. We use targeted therapeutic techniques, customised exercise programs, ergonomic advice, collaborative care, and patient education to form a comprehensive and effective wrist tendonitis treatment plan.

Don’t wait until the pain becomes unbearable or hinders your daily activities – make a booking with our experienced physiotherapy team at Sports Focus today! Take the first step towards a pain-free, confident, and active life. Your journey to wrist health and peak performance starts with us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *