Tendinitis in the wrist can be quite debilitating and painful. You never quite realize how much or how often you use your wrist until this joint starts to hurt with every movement. If you catch it early, wrist tendinitis does not usually require surgery or other major treatment, but it does require physical therapy. Here is what you can expect your physical therapist to do — or guide you in doing — in order to heal your wrist tendinitis.
Flexions and Extensions
A lot of your time in the physical therapist's office will be spent doing flexion and extension exercises to strengthen the muscles in your wrist, which will take some pressure off the tendon so it can heal. The most basic form of these exercises is to bend your wrist forward and hold it for 3 - 5 seconds; this is a flexion. Then, you bend your wrist back and hold that position for 3 - 5 seconds. Your physical therapist may have you use some resistance bands alongside these movements as you progress.
Flexion and Extension Stretches
Another important aspect of your physical therapy routine is stretching. As with the strengthening exercises, your physical therapist will have you perform these exercises to flex and extend your wrist. They may push your hand further and back to increase your range of motion a little at a time. What this does is help lengthen and stretch the tendons out, alleviating your soreness.
Grip Strength Building
When you develop wrist tendinitis, your grip strength often decreases. In other words, you may have a hard time grasping and holding onto certain objects, such as a ball or pencil. Your physical therapist will likely give you a soft, cushioned ball to grip. You'll be asked to do this for a few seconds at first, slowly working your way up to longer grips.
Cold Laser Therapy or Cold Therapy
Finally, your physical therapist will use some technique to reduce the swelling and inflammation in and around your tendons. Traditionally, cold therapy is used. This basically involves holding an ice pack or a special cooling device on your wrist for 20 minutes or so. However, in recent years, some physical therapists have instead begun to use cold laser therapy. The cold laser penetrates your skin and helps ease tension and soreness in your wrist. It does not hurt at all and is excellent for healing.
If you think you may have wrist tendonitis, see a physical therapist. This is a very treatable condition as long as the right approach is taken.