Exercises For Shoulder Tendinitis

24 January, 2019
The mild and habitual practice of stretching is fundamental for alleviating the pain caused by tendinitis and for recuperating as you gain flexibility and strength.

When a tendon becomes inflamed, it’s called tendinitis.

Professional sports players are not the only people susceptible to this movement-reducing injury. Everyone can become become subject to the inconvenient and painful condition known as tendinitis.

In this article, we’ll take about several exercises for shoulder tendinitis which is one of the most common forms of tendinitis.

What Is Shoulder Tendinitis?

In this condition, tendon inflammation is accompanied by micro-fissures that prevent movement and rotation in the area where the tendinitis is located.

There are several key factors that can lead to tendinitis:

Visit this article: How to treat pain in the shoulders

1. Age

Age plays an important role in shoulder tendonitis

The condition is most common in people older than forty years of age. However, it is becoming more and more common in younger adults aged twenty-five to thirty-five.

2. Mechanical Factors

Your movements may also cause tendinitis. In this case, the elevation of the arm due to certain physical or labor intensive activities, which implies an increase in the force of friction, and excessive use of the stressed tendon can result in the micro-trauma that causes it.

3. Vascular Factors

In this case, the infra and supraspinatus muscles are affected. Both muscles have zones of little irrigation in the tendon and are more susceptible to degenerative processes.

What Are the Symptoms?

Among the symptoms of  shoulder tendinitis, pain is a big one and prevalent:

  • During the night and during times of rest
  • When there’s pressure
  • When making certain movements (especially elevating your arm)
  • When stretching in a cold environment

It’s also important to know that when there is shoulder tendinitis the pain can present itself during the night (for example when the arm is in a state of rest) or can persist all day (and increase during the night during sleep).

When tendinitis is generated in the muscles of the rotator cuff, the symptoms are more specific, like:

  • Pain in the lateral part of the shoulder, or the posterior part of the shoulder
  • Shoulder arch separation of up to 120 degrees
  • Immobility when trying to rotate or raise the arm

Exercises For Shoulder Tendinitis

Exercises For Shoulder Tendinitis

The objectives of a routine for patients with shoulder tendinitis is basically to reduce pain and increase mobility so that patients can perform normal tasks without pain.

Furthermore, these exercises serve to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder, successfully stretch the muscles, and enable a safe return to activity.

However, before performing these exercises, it’s vital that you consult with a kinesiesologist such as an athletic trainer, a traumatologist, or a physical therapist. This is to ensure that these are the correct exercises for you and that you are performing them correctly.

Completing a scheduled routine of shoulder movements for the shoulder will help you increase your flexibility, postural control, and muscular strength little by little.

  • You should start with gentle exercises that warm you up, are slow, and are controlled.
  • During the second stage, it is acceptable to use weights.

The exercises that can help you alleviate shoulder pain are:

1. Initial Stretches

  • Standing up in front of a chair or table, lean your healthy arm on the edge of the object, and lean the chair or table forward.
  • Your back should now be parallel to the floor and with your legs straight.
  • Leave the arm with the injured shoulder hanging, as if it were a pendulum, and make little circles as if imitating a small clock. 
  • After twenty repetitions of the exercise, make little movements in the opposite direction. As you progress, enlarge the circles.

2. Front Stretch

  • Standing up with the back straight, use the hand of the injured arm and bring it up to the opposite shoulder. (For example, if your right shoulder has tendinitis, your right arm should be crossing your chest with your hand touching your left shoulder).
  • Take the elbow of the injured arm with the hand of your healthy arm and push the elbow up, creating a stretching sensation. Raise the arm up as much as possible without causing pain. 
  • Hold the the stretch for a few seconds, lower it, and then do it again.

3. Stretching With Support

Stretching With Support

For this exercise, you can use a wall or the edge of a window or door.

  • Stand up and support the hand of the injured arm with the hand of your healthy arm.
  • Once you’ve positioned yourself, lean your body forward to perform a good arm stretch. (Your arm should be behind your back).
  • Maintain this position for ten seconds. Then, rest and repeat.

4. Stretching With Support And Elevation

For this exercise you can also use a wall or window.

  • Lift your aching arm and support your hand over your shoulder.
  • With the fingertips, exert pressure so that the palm detaches from the surface.
  • Then, move your fingers up to raise your shoulder.

Would you like to learn more? Read: Do your fingers swell? Why does this happen?

5. Stretching With a Band

If you don’t have a band (which you can purchase at a sports retail store, or at a rehabilitation center) you can use a towel or a cloth.

  • Place he back of the your hand belonging to the injured arm on your back, while placing the other arm over your head.
  • Hold the band between both arms.
  • The arm above your head should gently pull upward towards the ceiling, which will then raise the other arm upwards.

6. Strengthening With a Rope

Strengthening With A Rope

To correctly perform this exercise, it is necessary that you tie a rope to the wall or door. Also, you can use a band.

  • Lie on your side and take the rope or band with the hand of your injured arm.
  • Make movements to the sides while stretching everything you can.
  • The movement should be performed by the bicep, since the tricep is “stuck” to the torso.
  • Wilson, J. J., & Best, T. M. (2005). Common overuse tendon problems: A review and recommendations for treatment. American Family Physician. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16156339/
  • Woods, K., Bishop, P., & Jones, E. (2007). Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)37(12), 1089–1099. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737120-00006
  • Wilson, J. J., & Best, T. M. (2005). Common overuse tendon problems: A review and recommendations for treatment. American family physician72(5), 811–818.
  • Abellán Guillén, J.F. Terminología y clasificación de las tendinopatías. Cátedra de Traumatología del Deporte, Universidad de Murcia. http://femede.es/documentos/Terminol_Clasificacion_tendinopatias_XXJJTrauma.pdf
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  • Tendinitis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378243