Massage for Tendonitis: Easing Tendon Inflammation

Woman suffering from pain in cubit

If you’re familiar with tendonitis, you’ll already know that it’s a painful and uncomfortable condition to deal with on a regular basis. And while any usual physical therapy or medication might keep symptoms at bay, did you know that massage can also work wonders in boosting flexibility, improving circulation and speeding up the healing process? Let’s take a closer look. 

What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a condition which can be characterized by acute or chronic inflammation or irritation of a tendon, aka the thick cords that attach muscle to bone. While tendonitis can occur in any of your tendons, it's most commonly found around shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels, due to the excess strain we often put on these areas of our body in our day-to-day lives.

The primary symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Pain that may build up gradually or be sudden and severe

  • Swelling, redness, and a sensation of heat in the affected area 

  • Pain when using the joint

Diagnosing tendonitis usually involves a physical examination with your doctor and, in some cases, x-ray tests to rule out other conditions.

What Causes Tendonitis?

Generally speaking, tendonitis can result from almost any activity that puts repetitive or prolonged stress on the tendons; these activities can include gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golf, skiing, and even running. In some cases, tendonitis can even occur when you’re sedentary; incorrect posture at work or home, or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise can end up contributing to the development of tendonitis.

Certain risk factors can also make you more susceptible to the condition, the primary of which is age: this is because tendons become less flexible as we get older, making them more prone to injury. Your job could even be to blame too; any work that involves repetitive motions or awkward positions can also increase the risk, while professional athletes - particularly runners and those involved in racket sports - are also at a higher risk due to repetitive motion.

Does Massage Help Tendonitis?

So, does massage really help? The answer is yes! Massage therapy can be an incredibly beneficial part of a comprehensive treatment plan for tendonitis, and works by promoting circulation and aiding in the healing process. Regular massage therapy can also help reduce the tightness in the muscles and tendons, providing relief from pain and improving range of motion.

And massage isn’t just good for tendonitis - it also offers comprehensive benefits for the whole body; from improving sleep to reducing stress, adding massage into your self care routine can be a great way to boost both your physical and emotional wellness. And with Spa Theory mobile couples massage services, you can even turn your self-care routine into a fun new date night idea - tendonitis or not!

Types of Massage for Tendonitis

Man doing sports with hamstring pain

While a traditional full body massage can be beneficial in treating tendonitis, different types of massages can end up being more efficient and effective than others. Deep tissue massage, for instance, is particularly beneficial for chronic tendonitis, as deep tissue techniques target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, getting rid of knots and releasing tension. 

For Achilles tendonitis, specific techniques focusing on the calf and heel area can provide significant relief, while a massage for elbow tendonitis will concentrate on the arm and elbow region to reduce discomfort and boost blood flow.

That being said, while massage therapy can be effective in alleviating discomfort, it's always a good idea to seek advice from your doctor or a licensed massage therapist before beginning any holistic treatment, especially if you’re dealing with a new injury. 

Can Massage Make Tendonitis Worse?

While massage therapy generally offers beneficial effects for tendonitis, there are circumstances where it might exacerbate the condition and end up aggravating pain. For example, aggressive massaging or applying pressure on highly inflamed tendons can increase irritation and inflammation - this is particularly true in cases of acute tendonitis where the tendons are extremely tender and sensitive.

To avoid any adverse effects, we’d always recommend having a tailored massage approach. A skilled massage therapist will be able to adjust their technique based on the severity and stage of your tendonitis. Gentle strokes and mild pressure are usually recommended, especially in the initial stages of treatment.

The Bottom Line

Overall, massage therapy can be a great way to improve tendonitis, but success depends on whether or not it's done correctly. For the best outcome, consult first with your general doctor or physical therapist, and make sure to explain your ongoing issues to your massage therapist, while also keeping open communication during any massage appointments - this will prevent unnecessary injuries and maximize your chances of a successful session. 


Is massage good for tendonitis?

Yes! Massage can be beneficial for tendonitis in helping reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow to the affected area, aiding in the healing process. However, it should be part of a broader treatment plan, rather than be relied on as a standalone treatment. 

Does massage for elbow tendonitis work?

Massage can be effective for elbow tendonitis, especially techniques that target the muscles and tendons around the elbow; regular sessions can alleviate pain and improve flexibility in the joint.

How often should you get a massage for tendonitis?

How often you get a massage for tendonitis depends on the severity and stage of your condition; it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional as well as a certified massage therapist to determine an appropriate schedule for your needs.

Can massage help prevent tendonitis?

Regular massage may help prevent tendonitis by maintaining good muscle and tendon flexibility, improving circulation, as well as reducing the risk of injuries that can lead to tendonitis.


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