Forearm tendonitis occurs either on the little finger or thumb side of the arm toward the middle of the forearm. It is not the same thing as wrist or elbow tendonitis. It is usually caused by overuse or repetitive stress on tendons in the forearm. Age can also be a factor. It's more common in people older than 40. Symptoms can include burning, stiffness, pain, inflammation and the inability to make fist. Standard treatments include rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and stretching and strength-building exercises for the wrist and forearm tendons and muscles.
Things You'll Need
- Forearm brace
- Ibuprofen or naproxen
- Ice pack
- Heating pad
Stop all physical activity that involves your forearm immediately. For severe pain, wear a forearm brace as often as possible to limit movement.
Take two ibuprofen or naproxen every four to six hours. Repeat dosage and frequency until your forearm tendinitis is healed.
Put ice in an ice pack or hand towel. Strap or tie the ice around your forearm so that it is compressed directly against your source of pain. Leave the ice in place for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure every three to four hours until the initial inflammation is substantially reduced.
Once inflammation is under control, use a heating pad several times per day for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure every day until your forearm tendonitis is healed.
Perform a set of lower-arm exercises every day. Sit on a chair and place the back of your wrist against your knee. Grab your fingers and slowly bend your wrist down as far as possible. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, pull your fingers and hand up and toward you as far as you can. Hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax. Do 10 repetitions in each direction and three total sets of each exercise. Next, turn your hand around so that your palm is facing down and place your wrist on your knee. Grab your fingers and slowly bend your wrist down. Hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds, then pull your fingers back up and stretch them toward you for 15 to 30 seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure you get ice on your forearm within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. Ice narrows blood vessels, which minimizes inflammation and pain. Once the inflammation and swelling are under control, use to promote blood flow to your forearm. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for healing. Exercise also increases blood flow. Stretching exercises will increase the flexibility of your tendons. Resistance or compression exercises such as using weights or squeezing a tennis ball will strengthen your forearm muscles, taking pressure off the tendons.
- Never perform any rehabilitation exercises until your initial inflammation has subsided. This can exacerbate your forearm tendonitis.