What is tendonitis?
A tendon is a thick chord of tissue that attaches our muscles to our bones. They act as pulls to help our muscles move our bones and joints. Tendonitis is where this tendon becomes swollen and it typically affects the shoulders, hands, wrists, thumbs and calves.
What are the difficulties associated with tendonitis?
The difficulties that tendonitis causes will depend on what tendon is affected. Below are some of the most common difficulties that tendonitis can cause:
- Difficulty going up or down the stairs
- Trouble standing for sustained periods of time to prepare meals, clean teeth or shave for example
- Difficulty using computers
- Challenges with writing
- Trouble turning keys, opening doors or turning handles
- Difficulty getting dressed
- Difficulty playing an instrument
- Trouble playing sport
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help people overcome common difficulties associated with tendonitis, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.
How can occupational therapy help with tendonitis?
When movement is painful our natural reaction is to avoid it. Your GP will provide advice on the medical management of tendonitis and an occupational therapist can help with the practical challenges during the recovery phase. Here are some of the ways that an occupational therapist can help clients with tendonitis:
- Splinting - an occupational therapist can provide bespoke or advise on 'off the shelf' splints to preserve functional positioning, reduce pain and allow the tendon to rest.
- Vocational support - tendonitis can affect our ability to perform our work role. An occupational therapist can analyse the components of a work role and identify tasks that may exacerbate tendonitis. They can then provide modifications to the work environment or role that will reduce the impact on the inflamed tendon.
- Small aids and techniques - there are lots of small aids that can be used around the house to reduce the impact of daily activities on tendonitis. An occupational therapist will review your daily routine to identify what areas of daily life you are likely to struggle with whilst recovering from tendonitis and then provide alternative ways of completing the activities or small aids that can assist.