Tendinitis in the forearm


Tendons are where muscles attach to bones. You are involved in all movements.
In some parts of the body they run in tendon sheaths.
These are protective structures. in which the tendons can slide back and forth.
They mainly occur in areas of the body where the tendons are exposed to particularly heavy loads and where there is a lot of friction on the tendons. This particularly includes the hand and forearm.

If the tendons become inflamed, for example due to excessive strain, this is called tendinitis. The forearm and hand are the places where tendinitis is very common. Often the tendons and the tendon sheaths become inflamed at the same time.

The terms tendinitis and tendinitis often refer to the same clinical picture.

These are the causes

The tendons of the forearm are exposed to strong frictional forces due to the constant movement. Tendon sheaths have the function of reducing the frictional forces acting on the tendons.

However, excessive stress on the tendons can irritate the tendon sheaths and the tendons themselves. This irritation can develop into tendinitis and tendon sheath inflammation with prolonged exposure.

This is mainly caused by monotonous movements with the hand or forearm, which are carried out repeatedly. Sports such as golf, tennis or climbing can cause tendinitis of the forearm, but also housework that is an unusual burden, such as gardening or moving house.

Craftsmen and musicians are often affected because they often make the same movements with their hands for a long time. Another very common cause is computer work. Using the mouse and keyboard for hours puts a lot of strain on the tendons and tendon sheaths of the forearm and hand.

Chronic diseases can also be associated with tendinitis. This is relatively rare, but can be triggered by rheumatoid arthritis, for example.

You might also be interested in: Pain in the elbow

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The typical symptoms of tendinitis include above all Pain. These occur in the area of ​​the affected tendon on the forearm. Initially, it only hurts with certain movements, but if the inflammation has progressed, the forearm can also hurt at rest.

In addition, the affected area can swollen and reddened be and yourself warm feel. In some cases, you can hear and feel a crunch with certain movements.

If the tendinitis is not cured adequately and the patient does not relieve the forearm enough, the inflammation can occur chronic and drag on for several months.

Tendonitis on the top

Tendonitis on the upper side is caused by overstressing the extensor muscles in the forearm or by adding and reducing the wrist.
Craftsmen or athletes are often affected.
Patients often feel pain when the wrist is extended and a stretch on the top.
Severe tendinitis can also cause redness or swelling.

The wrist should be kept steady for treatment.

Tendonitis on the underside

Tendonitis on the underside is caused by overloading the flexor muscles in the forearm.
Athletes are often affected.
Patients feel pain when flexing the wrist and a stretch on the underside.
In addition, the closing of the fist is painful.
Severe tendinitis can also cause redness or swelling.

The wrist should be kept steady for treatment.



In the case of tendinitis of the forearm, which is noticeable by severe pain, this is the most important thing to do Cooling the affected area.
Also one Immobilization helps relieve pain, with people usually holding their arm still on their own initiative. Nevertheless, an additional immobilization should be carried out using a rail or one Plaster of paris be made. If the swelling is severe, there is a Compression bandage makes sense. Also one Elevation of the affected arm often relieves pain. If a certain activity is known to be the cause that led to the inflammation, it should be avoided for a longer period of time. If it is an activity that the patient carries out as part of his job, he should also think about how he can make the requirement more gentle in the future. Ergonomically designed computer keyboards can often be used helpful in office work.

In addition, in the acute stage, anti-inflammatory ointments (e.g. Voltaren ointment) can be applied to the affected area. In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs can also be taken in tablet form. Ibuprofen or diclofenac are suitable here. If the pain is very severe, a cortisone preparation can be injected directly into the affected tendon using a syringe. This works very quickly and efficiently.

If the tendinitis has already become chronic, often only one can help operative therapy. This consists of a split in the tendon sheath that is narrowed by the ongoing inflammation. This gives the tendon more space to slide through and reduces irritation.

In the case of underlying rheumatic diseases, therapy consists of treating the underlying disease.

Athletes and musicians should do specific exercises to target the To strengthen musclesso that there is no relapse. Longer warm-ups and slow resumption of training should also be observed.


In the case of local pain, applying an ointment with anti-inflammatory agents can relieve the symptoms. In most cases, ointment with the active ingredient diclofenac is used for this purpose (e.g. Voltaren ointment). The affected area should be rubbed with the ointment three times a day. The ointment should be massaged in well.


The forearm is taped discharge and the support, but not total immobilization. In the case of severe tendinitis of the forearm, only this will initially help complete immobilization. Once the inflammation has subsided and the load on the forearm can be resumed, the application of Kinesio tape serve to stabilize. Two strips of tape are required for this. The first encloses the middle and ring fingers and runs over the back of the hand to the forearm. The second strip is glued across the wrist.

You can find out more about the topic here: Kinesio tape


A bandage for treating tendinitis on the forearm can be a useful therapy method.
It ensures more stability in the forearm and, by immobilizing the forearm, protects the tendons, muscles and joints.
It is used especially on the wrist.
It can also be used preventively, for example during sport, to counteract tendonitis.
There are several types of bandages and a doctor or medical technician should be consulted in deciding which one is correct.


Depending on which symptoms of the tendinitis are in the foreground, different ones can occur homeopathic remedies can be used.

In case of pain after overexertion and improvement through rest can Arnica be taken.

For pain that mainly occurs at the start of movement, but then subsides Rhus toxicodendron be helpful.

Bryonia can be used if the affected area is very swollen and reddened.


An acute tendinitis sounds with sufficient protection mostly after few days off again.

What is important is one Relapse to prevent by avoiding the triggering activity even after the symptoms have disappeared. Often there is one several weeks of immobilization necessary. Movement sequences that led to the inflammation should be optimized in the long term, for example through ergonomically designed computer workstations or, in the case of athletes, by changing the technology.

If the tendinitis has already become chronic, the pain can persist for weeks to months.

How long does the sick leave take?

A sick leave for tendinitis usually takes 1-2 weeks, depending on the extent of the inflammation.
If the forearm and wrist are sufficiently immobilized, for example using bandages or tapes, tendinitis will be completely healed after a week.
With bandages, everyday activities can usually be continued directly.
However, you should not put any strain on the forearm for 4 weeks in order to ensure complete healing.

This is how the diagnosis is made

To make the diagnosis of tendinitis, the doctor first asks about the exact symptoms. Here, the exact location of the pain and the time at which the pain occurred serve as clues for the doctor. Often these descriptions are sufficient to make a suspected diagnosis of tendinitis. The affected area is then scanned. The doctor pays particular attention to swelling, redness and warming of the skin. The doctor can confirm his suspicions by doing some special exercise tests.

Imaging procedures are only necessary if the diagnosis is still unclear despite a previous examination. In these cases, an ultrasound examination can be performed to visualize the tendons and tendon sheaths. Since the inflammation does not affect the bones, an X-ray examination is not useful. In cases where the diagnosis is difficult to make, it may be necessary to do magnetic resonance imaging, as inflammation can be seen on these images.

If a rheumatic disease is suspected as a trigger for the tendinitis, a blood test can provide information in which the blood is examined for certain rheumatic parameters.

Tendinitis on the upper arm (tennis elbow)

The so-called tennis elbow (epicondylitis humeri radialis) is an inflammation of the tendons on the top of the forearm.
This starts on the outside of the elbow and causes pain that can radiate to the entire forearm. Repetitive movements like those done in tennis can lead to this inflammation. But this disease also occurs through housework, other sports or with musicians.

Read more about: Tennis elbow