Tendinitis in the arm


A tendinitis of the arm is usually understood through overload or Improper loading triggered, inflammatory and painful disease of the tendon of a muscle of the arm. The arm is equipped with a multitude of muscles, all of which are fixed to the bone with a tendon to ensure adequate stability. (see Arm muscles)
Tendon infections are relatively common and can lead to protracted complaints on the one hand, but also to the resulting restricted mobility on the other.

Causes of tendinitis on the arm

Most of the time, tendinitis of the arm is the result of excessive strain or improper strain. Due to the proximity of the tendon to the bone, there is always a not inconsiderable amount of friction with every movement and thus possible irritation of the tendon.

Normal and familiar movements can usually be carried out without any discomfort. However, if the arm is overloaded in any way, by lifting heavy loads, or if very unusual movements are carried out in the arm, greater friction can occur. Short-term friction is also less likely to lead to inflammation, but very frequent and often performed movements lead to stronger friction. This can then lead to inflammation of the tendons.

Even long periods of incorrect exercise can lead to inflammation of the tendons. Inflammations in the area of ​​the tendons, if they persist for a long time, lead to the otherwise very stable tendons being damaged and porous.

If the muscle is not consistently spared and if no appropriate treatment is initiated, the tendon may tear or tear, which not only leads to very severe pain, but can also lead to a loss of function and sometimes even to the total uselessness of the muscle .

Read our general article about this: Tendinitis

What are the symptoms of tendinitis on the arm?

The first symptoms of tendinitis of the arm are usually pulling and burning pain in the area of ​​the affected muscle.

The muscle tendon forms the end of the muscle and is attached to the bone of the arm. An inflammation that develops in this area leads to pain, which initially only occurs when the patient is exerted and can be aggravated by movements of the arm.

In the further course and with progressive inflammation of the tendon, pain in the tendon area can also occur at rest. Another very common symptom of tendinitis is moderate to severe restriction of movement. It arises from the fact that pulling movements in the affected tendon can no longer be carried out easily due to the inflammation. The desired movement can no longer be carried out by the muscle as usual.

Furthermore, in addition to the pain described, uncertainties when lifting and turning the arm are often stated.

Read more on this topic at: Pain in the upper arm and Pain in the forearm

Diagnosis of tendinitis on the arm

The diagnosis of tendinitis in the arm is primarily made clinically. That means by means of an exact doctor-patient conversation and a physical examination.

The diagnosis of tendinitis in the arm is made clinically, i.e. due to the patient's discomfort. The doctor asks the patient about the beginning and duration of the complaints, where exactly they are located, and whether corresponding unusual or stressful movements have been carried out recently.

Then the arm and the area indicated as painful is examined and palpated by the doctor in order to find out if the pain is aggravated. Ask the patient to flex and extend the arm. Then the arm should also be rotated.

If the upper arm is primarily affected by the inflammation, the patient should raise the arm 90 degrees to the side to test whether this can trigger an increase in pain. If there is pain in the tendon area and a related history (lifting heavy loads, unusual movements in the last few days), the diagnosis of tendinitis is considered.

If in doubt, an imaging procedure can also be performed. If the tendon is badly inflamed, an ultrasound scan of the tendon may reveal thickening. In the case of a tear, a fanning out of the sinewy structures would be noticed in the ultrasound, and in the case of a complete tear, the white tendon that can otherwise be shown in the ultrasound would be interrupted. Ultrasound examinations of muscles and tendons are not easy to perform and require a trained eye from an experienced orthopedic surgeon or trauma surgeon.

In exceptional cases and if the symptoms do not improve, an MRI of the affected arm section should be carried out, so that even the smallest inflammatory changes in the area of ​​the muscle can be shown.

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Therapy of tendinitis of the arm

The treatment of tendinitis of the upper arm is carried out conservatively in the vast majority of cases, which means that surgical treatment only rarely has to take place. The most important measure after the diagnosis of tendinitis of the upper horn is to rest and rest. The movements that led to the inflammation of the tendon of the upper horn should not be carried out until further notice. The arm should be kept still, but not completely immobilized.

Regular cooling, especially shortly after the inflammation begins, can ensure that the symptoms subside more quickly. You can use a in a towel Use a wrapped ice pack and place this on the attachment point of the painful tendon for about 5-10 minutes. Ice packs should not be placed directly on the skin, as the extreme cold can damage the skin and its vessels if they come into direct contact. The whole thing should then be done 2-3 times a day.

Cooling gels with anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen (Doc®Gel) or diclofenac (Voltaren®) also help promote recovery.
If the inflammation is very strong, it may be necessary to use tablets that have a stronger anti-inflammatory effect. The active ingredients ibuprofen and / or diclofenac can also be used here.

Read also: Home remedies for tendinitis

Ointments used to treat tendinitis in the arm

For the conservative treatment of tendinitis of the arm, there are some ointments available, the effects of which are very effective in the case of moderate inflammation.

  • Doc®Gel contains the active ingredient ibuprofen and, if there are no allergies, can be applied to the painful area of ​​the arm 2-3 times a day.

  • Diclofenac, which is also available in the form of a pain gel, is often more anti-inflammatory.
    Under the trade name Voltaren® it can be obtained without a prescription from the pharmacy and should also be applied to the inflamed tendon area 2-3 times a day.

  • Kytta® ointments have a cooling and also slightly anti-inflammatory effect and can be tried out in advance.

  • An ointment is available under the trade name Mobilat® which can be used successfully for both joint pain and muscle pain. The active ingredient is that Flufenamic acidwhich is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Mobilat® can also be applied to the painful areas of the muscle 2-3 times a day.

Taping for tendinitis in the arm

The so-called Taping process an elastic and self-adhesive tape is stuck to the affected painful muscle to relieve it. The exact mechanism of action of a muscle taping has not yet been precisely clarified. However, it is assumed that forces acting on the muscle in everyday life are passed on to neighboring and healthy muscles and the skin through the applied tape, which is gentle on the diseased muscle.
The tape, which is available as a Kinesio tape should be applied to dry, non-oily skin and without tension. A tape can remain in the same place for days or weeks.
However, if the symptoms fail to improve, the treatment concept should be critically reconsidered. Today the taping process is an integral part of the treatment of muscle and joint diseases.

Please also read our article on this Kinesio tape.

Bandages for tendinitis in the arm

One of the most important measures in the conservative treatment of tendinitis of the upper arm is adequate immobilization. But since the arm is used automatically and without thinking for many movements, sometimes there is one Fixation by a bandage necessary. To be bandaged elastic bandages are used to cover the affected and painful part of the arm.
It is important that the bandage should be attached to the arm with a little tension and not too much tension. In addition to immobilization, bandaging also has a pain-relieving effect due to the compressive effect on the tissue. A bandage can remain on the arm for several days, but should at least be changed afterwards and the arm should be examined again in this context.

Home remedies for tendinitis in the arm

In addition to conventional medical treatment approaches, there are also some home remedies that have been used for centuries in the treatment of inflammatory muscle diseases.

Quark wraps are often used successfully. Here, chilled quark should be placed on a towel and then placed on the affected muscle or wrapped around the muscle. It is said that the quark reduces an existing inflammation through its cooling, but also stops inflammatory processes through certain ingredients. The latter has not been scientifically proven.

Rubbing alcohol is also used in the treatment of tendinitis of the arm. This solution has a strong cooling effect and should therefore lead to an anti-inflammatory effect on the one hand, but also to a reduction in pain.

Furthermore, there are also herbal-based teas, which are also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Above all teas should be mentioned here

  • Ginger,
  • Turmeric,
  • Honey,
  • Coconut oil and
  • Cinnamon.

The ingredients should usually be poured with hot water while they are dry and the tea should then be left to steep for about 10 minutes. A cup of this anti-inflammatory tea should be drunk several times a day.
In addition to being used for muscle and tendon diseases, this tea can also be used for other inflammatory processes in the body.

In the context of severe inflammation of the muscle tendons of the upper arm, the tea should not be taken as the sole treatment, but only as an accompaniment.

Homeopathy for tendinitis in the arm

Homeopathics can also be used to treat tendinitis in the arm. In the case of more severe inflammation, however, conventional medical methods should be used.

When choosing the right homeopathic medication, a few things should be observed that are not closely related to the pain, the location and the accompanying symptoms. For example, a certain homeopathic drug can be used more when the patient complains of nocturnal restlessness or the like in addition to muscle pain.

In order to make the right selection of the drug, the patient questioning must be carried out accordingly precisely. In general, however, one can say that the following homeopathic preparations are often used for joint and muscle pain and also for tendinitis of the upper arm: Acidum pricrinicum, Aranin, Bellis perennis, Ferrum phosphoricum and Hamamelis.

The medicine comes in the form of so-called Globules taken.These are small balls that have to be taken at certain times of the day. It is important to note that the symptoms may initially worsen slightly after ingestion, which is then quickly followed by an improvement and finally a healing of the symptoms. Homeopathic treatments can be used at any time to accompany mild forms of muscle inflammation.

In the case of very severe muscle inflammation, conventional medical measures should be used.

Duration of tendinitis in the arm

The length of time it takes for tendinitis in the arm to heal depends on the one hand on the severity and severity of the inflammation and on the other hand on the treatment measures. Consistent and quick cooling and immobilization are conducive to a faster recovery. Stressful movements should be completely avoided for the duration of the complaint. Resting leads to faster healing of the inflammatory processes in the tendon.

If all measures are complied with, an improvement in the complaint can be expected after about a week. If the inflammation is severe and the immobilization may not work, treatment may be necessary for 3-4 weeks or longer.

Tendinitis in the shoulder

In the shoulder and shoulder girdle area there are a number of muscles that are anchored to the humerus and shoulder by corresponding tendons. The tendons can become inflamed due to excessive friction, especially after carrying out heavy work, but also from unfamiliar movements, and lead to drawing and burning pain in the shoulder. Initially, the pain is only triggered with a corresponding shoulder movement. With advanced and severe inflammation, pain can occur even at rest.

Tendon infections in the shoulder are common. One reason for this is the large number of muscles in the shoulder region (Find out more at Shoulder muscles), but also the heavy use of everyday movements. Any movement of the upper arm is ultimately controlled by muscles in the shoulder. In addition to the pain in the shoulder, it can also lead to impaired movement.

The treatment of tendinitis in the shoulder should be done by cooling with ice packs and protecting the shoulder. Complete immobilization should not be done because of the risk of stiffening of the shoulder joint.
In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken in the form of gels, ointments or tablets. With sufficient rest, tendinitis of the shoulder joint can heal after a few days. In severe cases, however, a period of 2-3 weeks can pass before an improvement occurs.

Please also read our article on this Tendinitis in the shoulder

Biceps tendonitis

The biceps muscle is a muscle of the upper arm with 2 muscle bellies and is important for flexion and rotation (Supination) in the elbow joint.

Inflammation causes irritation of the tendon, often the long biceps tendon. The patients complain of pain in the shoulder joint area and when moving the elbow. The cause is above all an overuse of the muscle, especially in throwing sports or weight training.

The inflammation is treated by taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory agents, as well as rest and cooling.

Read more about this under: Biceps tendonitis

Tendinitis in the elbow

The elbow has a special anatomical significance in relation to tendinitis. The muscles of the forearm are on the one hand fixed to the bone at the level of the elbow, but the corresponding tendons are also always exposed to very special irritation and friction due to the flexion that is carried out in the elbow.

In addition to flexion and extension, turning movements can also be performed in the elbow. Both types of movement create a lot of friction between the tendons and can lead to inflammation.

Tendonitis of the elbow muscles is also noticeable by pulling and burning and possibly also radiating to the forearm. In the case of severe inflammation, freedom of movement in the elbow is restricted, which means that familiar movements can no longer be carried out without difficulty.

Tendonitis in the elbow joint can last for a few days to weeks. Here, too, it is very important to protect and cool the joint.

Please also read our article on this Tendinitis in the elbow

Is the tennis elbow a tendinitis?

A tennis elbow, too Lateral humeral epicondylitis called, is an inflammation of the tendons in the area of ​​the outer elbow joint.
It occurs mainly when the forearm muscles are overused with repeated movements in the arm. Tennis players are particularly affected. Overuse while playing tennis causes irritation of the extensor muscles on the top of the forearm. The patients therefore mainly report pain when the elbow and wrist are extended. In addition, the rotation of the forearm hurts (Supination).

A tennis elbow usually heals well with good therapy. The therapy takes place with cooling and protection of the arm. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can also help. Surgical therapy is only necessary in rare cases.

Learn more at: Tennis elbow

Tendonitis in the arm - the golfer's elbow

A golfer's elbow is inflammation of the tendon attachment of the flexor muscles of the forearm. It is also called Medialis humeric epicondylitis designated. The cause of the disease lies in an overload of the stressed muscles. Golfers are often affected.

Patients often complain of pain when they close their fists and when they bend their hands. Daily work is restricted as a result. If the arm is not protected, the pain can persist for several weeks.

The treatment of the golfer's elbow is primarily done by immobilization with the help of a splint for up to 2 weeks. In addition, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help. Sometimes the use of a wave therapy to support the therapy can also help. Surgical treatment is only necessary in rare cases.

Find out more at: Golfer's Elbow

Tendonitis on the forearm

There are a number of muscles in the forearm that are responsible for movement in the wrist and fingers. Overloading can lead to inflammation of the tendons or the tendon attachments (Tendonitis). Some of the tendons are also located in so-called tendon sheaths, which can also become inflamed.

Often there is overuse in sports, for example golf, tennis or climbing. Frequent use of musical instruments or the computer mouse can also lead to inflammation. The patients usually complain of pain in the forearm when moving the hand.

Tendonitis on the forearm is treated by resting, cooling, and taking pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.

Read on below: Tendinitis in the forearm

Recommendations from the editorial team

Further information on tendinitis in the arm can be found here:

  • Tendinitis
  • Tendinitis in the shoulder
  • Tendinitis in the elbow
  • Arm muscles
  • Shoulder muscles
  • Kinesio tape

You can find an overview of other orthopedic topics under Orthopedics A-Z.