Massage for Tendonitis: How to Use Massage Therapy for Tendonitis

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Tendons are found all over the body. They make us move the way we are supposed to. Tendons connect the muscles and the bones so that we can properly control how we move. 

However, there are instances when they could become inflamed. This inflammation, called tendonitis (or tendinitis), can cause pain and discomfort. 

Massage for tendonitis is one of the best ways to manage this discomfort. Apart from helping with the pain, certain massages can help encourage healing and decrease inflammation. 

In this article, I’ll take a deep look at massage for tendinitis.

Massage For Tendonitis

Tendons are made to be tough because they connect your muscles to the bones. You can find tendons anywhere in the body where there is a joint. 

There are times when the tendons become inflamed because they are irritated or due to repetitive movements. These repetitive movements can be due to your profession or the job you have. 

When you have tendonitis, one of the most common symptoms that you will feel will be a sharp or burning pain in the joints. It is possible that the area is swelling and there is tenderness. Additionally, there can be muscle weakness and a feeling of grating when you move the joints. 

Compared to muscles, tendons don’t have the veins that bring them the nutrients so that they can heal quickly. That means it will take a longer time for the tendons to heal depending on the damage. 

Usually, tendons will need about 2-6 weeks to heal. That’s a long time to endure pain! This is why people find various ways to deal with the pain and help the tendons heal. 

One way to help heal the tendons is to do a massage. There are several types of massage that can be done to help with the pain that you feel and help the tendons to heal. 

One way to help heal the tendons is to do a massage for tendonitis. 

Here are the most common massages that can be done to help with tendonitis:

1. Sports Massage

Sports massage therapy is a good way to help the affected tendon. It is excellent when it comes to pain relief and treatment. Sports massage is particularly used when the Achilles tendon is affected, usually due to overuse. 

This is common among athletes, who often have their Achilles tendons in the back of the heel affected. 

When sports massage is applied to the area, it helps relieve pain. Additionally, the massage helps stretch and stimulate the muscles. This helps relieve the tension from the tendons. 

2. Deep Tissue Massage

Another type of massage that can be done for tendonitis is deep tissue massage. This is especially done when the affected area is the knees. 

The deep tissue massage is done using slow yet firm pressured strokes. This motion makes sure that the message reaches deep into the tissue. 

Deep tissue massage doesn’t just help with the pain caused by tendonitis, it can also help break up the scar tissue, improve the blood circulation in the area, and reduce swelling. 

Many people fear deep tissue massage, assuming it will be too painful. Yes, it is intense, but assuming you’re working with a qualified massage therapist, the pain should be manageable. Note that there are some downsides to deep tissue massage, including anxiety and even sickness-like feelings after massage.

3. Deep Transverse Friction Massage

Friction massage therapy is a type of massage usually performed by a massage therapist. It involves a backward and forward movement of the pads of the thumb and fingers. This movement increases the friction in the area where the massage is applied. 

This type of massage is done not only on the area of the affected tendon or directly over it but in the surrounding area too. This will help greatly with abrasions or tissue scarring. 

Self Massage Tools for Tendonitis

Massage for tendonitis will usually involve deep tissue massage or friction tendonitis massage. However, not all people may know how to do this and it is best to go to reliable professionals. 

Massage for friction tendonitis will involve using moderate pressure of your thumb and fingers on the area where there is tenderness. The area is stroked slowly but firmly in a back-and-forth manner. 

Unlike the usual massage styles that apply pressure parallel to the muscle fibers, massage for tendonitis is usually applied at a perpendicular angle to the fibers of the muscles. It is done for a few minutes until the sensitivity disappears or lessens. 

The friction intensity is increased for the next two minutes and then increased again for the last two minutes. After massaging the tendon, ice is applied in the area to numb it and reduce inflammation. 

Some people massage the area on their own by just using their fingers. However, some tools can be used to help the massage. Some may opt to use massage guns to help with tendonitis. 

Massage Guns

Massage gun

The massage guns can be used for a variety of situations. Tendonitis is just one of the instances where it can be useful. With the help of the tendonitis gun, the pain and inflammation can be reduced and the function of the tendon can be improved. 

Massage guns  are great because they help provide the pressure and sometimes heat needed to go through the massage. Using a gun makes it possible to do massage therapy in the comfort of your home. 

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers

Apart from massage guns, some other tools like foam rollers could help you massage areas that may be difficult for you to reach or put pressure on with just your bare fingers. 

Massage Treatment For Tendonitis In Shoulder

Tendonitis in the shoulder happens when the rotator cuff or biceps tendon is inflamed. This could either be a mild or severe inflammation. When this happens the tendon thickens and could become inflamed. 

Some symptoms of having tendonitis in the shoulder included pain in the shoulder or inability to hold your arm in specific positions. To help with this tendonitis and the pain it brings, massages can be done. 

However, you should make sure to ask your healthcare provider about the massage before doing it on your own. Usually, the physical therapist will be the one who will select the message that you should get for your shoulder. 

Stretching exercises are done to help relieve tendonitis. This helps in the range of motion of the shoulder as well. 

The message for the shoulder could be done by simply using your hand. Using your opposite hand, massage your shoulder gently and focus on the sensitive area. As you massage your shoulder, gently move the arm of the affected shoulder. 

Massage tools such as a foam roller can be used too. Place the roller under your underarm while letting your arm rest on the floor. Gently roll back and forth. 

An electronic massage tool or a massage gun can be used on the area to help relieve the tension. Using the massage gun can help improve the mobility of the shoulder. To use the massage gun, focus on the trigger points and tender areas. 

Massage to Treat Tendonitis In the Wrist

The wrist is another joint in the body where tendonitis can develop. The affected tendons can either be the flexor tendons or the extensor tendons

It is rare for both tendons to be affected at the same time. It is more common for the flexor tendon to be affected.

This will result in pain when you move your fingers. Plus you could feel stiffness and reduced strength. 

One way to help with tendonitis of the wrist is to do massages. Massaging will help break the adhesions apart so that it could loosen the fibrous restrictions for you to move freely. 

Deep tissue massage is used for the wrist. However, it will be difficult to do the massage on your own so a partner is needed or you can use a massage gun. 

If you have someone to do the massage, kneading motions are applied on the flexor tendon surface. This daily massage is done for a few days or weeks to relieve wrist tendonitis. 

Many people confuse tendinitis with carpal tunnel syndrome, but they are different.

Extensor Tendonitis Massage

When you suffer from extensor tendonitis, you can feel pain across the top of your foot. Usually, the pain could be felt on the top of the foot but may occasionally spread to the arch of your foot. 

Gentle massage on the tender area can help reduce the swelling. As you increase your tolerance to the massage, you may now use a cross-friction massage. This helps prevent scar adhesions so that your range of motion is not reduced. 

To do the massage, you can make use of your thumb and the pads of your fingers. Apply gently to moderate pressure and rub on the irritated tendon back and forth. Remember that the strokes should be perpendicular to the tendon fibers and not parallel to them. 

Massage Therapy For Tendonitis In The Foot

Apart from the extensor tendon in the foot, another common source of pain would be due to the affected peroneal tendon. This could make it difficult to do normal activities because pain is felt in the lateral ankle and foot. 

There are a few massages that can be done to help deal with the pain and help with healing. One of them is trigger point therapy. 

This is a massage that’s done with your knuckles, thumb, or a massage gun. This should be done in the tendons only and not the bony areas. 

To do this, you simply apply the pressure along the peroneal muscle until you find the sore spot. Then apply as much pressure as you can for about a minute. 

Deep tissue massage can be done on the foot too. To do this, wrap your hands around your lower legend make sure that your thumb is resting on the muscle of your lower leg. Put pressure on this as you separate the thumbs from each other. 

Should You Massage Tendonitis?

Tendonitis can be a painful condition and it may take time to recover and heal from it. The pain can make it uncomfortable to do your daily tasks. 

Massage is a great way to help out with tendonitis because it helps you deal with the pain. It is a way to relieve yourself of the pain caused by the inflamed tendons while it heals. 

Apart from that, massaging tendonitis can help with the healing process. The act of massaging can improve the circulation in the area to help speed up the healing, Additionally, the massage can help prevent the joints from being stiff and difficult to move. 

Can Massage Help Tendonitis?

One of the main reasons why people opt for massage for their tendonitis is to help with pain management. When pain is minimized, those who have tendonitis can feel better and be more patient to wait for their tendons to completely heal. 

However, it should be noted that there are specific massage techniques that could help with tendonitis. Most of the time, massage isn’t advisable during the first 24-48 hours or when the area is still swollen. 

Most of the time, massage isn’t advisable during the first 24-48 hours or when the area is still swollen. 

Massages like deep transverse friction massage use deeper pressure so that the tendons would be reached. These are done in small movements and are perpendicular to the tendon fibers. 

Apart from helping with the pain, massage helps decrease adhesions. It can help create functional scar tissue instead. This will be the case after the inflammation has subsided.

Can Massage Make Tendonitis Worse?

In general, massage can help with tendonitis. However, there are a few things to take note of so that it doesn’t make your tendonitis work. 

First of all, it is advisable to have the massage only after 48 hours from the onset of the injury. If you have the massage earlier, it could only worsen your condition. 

Additionally, you should know that massage only helps with the treatment of your tendonitis. You should still follow a treatment plan or program that’s designed by your healthcare provider. 

Final Thoughts

It is best to find a reliable and experienced massage therapist that knows what they are doing. They can instruct you about the possible treatment procedure so you can work well with them through the healing process.

But if you want to try it at home, you’re now armed with the basics on how to massage for tendonitis.