Should I stretch if I have Wrist Tendonitis?

by Barry

I have tendonitis in my right wrist. It started after kayaking with a tight wrist seal on my dry suit. Usually I wear short sleeves and have no problems even when kayaking for up to 10 hours a day.

For the last 3 weeks I have been resting, icing and taking anti-inflammatories but my wrist is still tender. I have just come across your website and will try the icing method that you suggest.

Should I be doing any stretches or is stretching likely to aggravate any inflammation?

Also I have heard of people using hot and cold to help blood flow but I don't know if this is a bad idea.

Thanks Barry


Joshua Answers:

Hi Barry.

Stretching for Tendonitis is perfectly ok -IF-, and I repeat, -IF-, you stretch LIGHTLY.

At all costs, avoid the sensation of pain. There's good pain, and there's bad pain.

If you stretch too much, too hard, then you send a danger signal to the brain. And your brain will respond with more pain and more tightness.

That's the Pain Causing Dynamic part of Tendonitis

See: What Is Tendonitis?.

Basically, that's the main reason not to stretch, or to stretch lightly and carefully only.

The other reason to go gently, is that if you do have scar tissue build
up, when you stretch, it's not going to flex much. The more flexible tissue around it will, but it won't, and in fact might micro-rip and micro-tear even more (imagine bending a dry, crunchy sponge).

Maybe you got some damage from that kayaking. Maybe you already had some but your body was handling it. Maybe you just really irritated the ecology of your wrist and now your stuck in a pain dynamic.

Either way, you need to kick out the inflammation, and loosen up the muscles and connective tissue that are contributing to your symptoms of Wrist Tendonitis.

More questions, more answers.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

Subscribe to The Tendonitis Expert Newsletter Today!

For TIPS, TRICKS, and up-to-date Tendonitis information you need!




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.

I promise to use it only to send you The Tendonitis Expert Newsletter.

Reversing Wrist Tendonitis ebook cover

Reversing DeQuervain’s ebook cover

Carpal Tunnel Treatment That Works Dvd cover

Reversing Guitar Tendonitis ebook cover

Comments for Should I stretch if I have Wrist Tendonitis?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 08, 2016
by: Anonymous

So if when do you recommend to start the light stretching if there is tendonitis? is it ok to stretch right on the first or second day of the injury or waiting is essential?

thank you


Joshua Comments:

Well, if it's -very light- you can start anytime you want.

Anything that creates length to too tight tissue is good. AS LONG as you don't send any pain or overstretch signal to the brain.

Also, it depends on if you're talking about tendonitis, or an injury (rip and tear injury).

Apr 11, 2016
by: Anonymous

about the hot and cold treatment-if hot water sends new blood to the area,thus more nutrition to the injury why not finish up with the hot water treatment,is it not what massage is doing to the muscles as well?


Joshua comments:

A. cold will flush fluid out and then the brain will go 'hey it's cold' and push new blood in, so you still get a 'more' blood result and

B. Part of the inflammation process is to trap fluid in the area. So I'd rather finish on 'more out' than 'more in'.

It's a bit theoretical there granted, and probably not critical if you've already been doing effective icing, and there are different factors like 'do you have an injury, or do you just have pain, or both, or....?'.

But ultimately, I side with that finishing on cold is more beneficial than finishing on heat, if only because cold will result in a 'more new blood in' result like heat does, with the added benefits of cold.

Apr 12, 2016
by: Anonymous

so when I am using the icing do I need to let the hand warm up a bit after dipping it in the ice for about 10 seconds?
-do I need to continue this process even after 7 days of treatment?
-can it be a preventative treatment if I am using the muscles a lot?
thanks a lot!


Joshua Comments:


I don't know, it depends on your scenario.


Ice dipping is very effective at A. creating circulatory turnover (old stuff out, new stuff in) and B. decreasing pain levels.

It's not a fix in and of itself, but it's very effective at what it's effective at.

Apr 16, 2016
by: Anonymous

Hi again,
I had a thought about the icing treatment. If the muscle is already in a contracted state, why contract it even more with icing? Because it allows the chemicals to get out of it?


Joshua Comments:

Basically yes.

Every artery is surrounded by a tiny bit of muscle. Cold causes muscle to contract.

So it's kind of like squeezing a sponge...old stuff out, new stuff in.

Yes the muscle is overall contracted, and cold causes muscle contraction, but it's kind of apples and oranges....not the same thing.

Apr 18, 2016
Hi again
by: Anonymous

Just so that it clear to me-the inflammation process happens only when there is too much effort right? In a regular contraction of the muscles there is none?


Joshua Comments:

No, there is no particular correlation between muscle contraction/effort and inflammation process.

Inflammation kicks in for a variety of reasons, but for this conversation, when the brain sees injury (large or tiny) or pain (which it thinks is injury).

Apr 25, 2016
stuck fluid
by: Anonymous

About the inflammation process-if the tissue and muscle get tight,and fluid is stuck in there,how come the body sends more fluid and that will get stuck in there as well??

If the place is tight like a sponge nothing can insert there anymore... what am I missing?


Joshua Comments:

What you're missing is that the body doesn't work quite like that, and it's not as simple as that.

The body sends more fluid because that's what the brain wants it to do.

More fluid gets in because there's more space to get into. Swelling results.

May 17, 2016
the inflammation process
by: Anonymous

Hi again,
Is it correct saying that on one hand the body is sending fluids to the injured placed and on the other hand ,the nervous system contract the muscles even more,and that is why we can not rely on the body to heal itself?

Thanks a lot


Joshua Comments:

I would say it is correct that those two factors are happening, but I would not say that those two are the cause for the body not healing itself.

And it's not really accurate to say that the body is not healing itself....

If there is no rip or tear there is no healing to do.

But yes, the body does tend to tighten up muscles, and that causes problems.

Jul 10, 2016
icing vs heating
by: Anonymous

Hi there.

Would you recommend icing even in muscle strain? and not tendon inflammation?

I was trying to look for an answer and there are all contradicting.

I heard someone saying that because icing contracts the muscle heating on a strain is better because it opens it up.

What is your opinion?

Thank a lot.


Joshua Comments:

"Would you recommend icing even in muscle strain?"


"I heard someone saying that because icing contracts the muscle"

It sort of does, but " heating on a strain opens it up" is also true.

But in no way to either of those = using heat and not cold.

Oct 26, 2017
icing and stretching for nerve pain
by: Anonymous1


I was wondering if stretching is okay for nerve pain. I do a nerve glide for my ulnar nerve in both arms that helps tingling feeling in my pinky and ring fingers, as well as the palm area beneath them.

But, it also has recently started causing electrical shock feeling to go up my pinky finger on my right arm only, as symptoms are a bit more intense do to it being my dominant arm.

It has me worried that my stretching is causing more harm then good. Or if this electrical shock means my nerve is able to send messages to my two fingers again.

Also, does a fluid feeling around the nerve mean its inflammation? Sometimes I get that feeling and the ice dipping seems to help it as well as additional muscle pain in the forearm.

And is there an effective way too use ice and heat? I heard heat is good for nerve pain but, when I use just heat it causes me much more pain.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous1.

1. I'm not a fan of stretching, in general. It's not a very efficient way of creating length.

2. If you're doing 'nerve glides' because of nerve tightness, how/why are the nerves tight? Seems like you should focus on that instead.

Otherwise, it will still over time be making the nerve tight (or more likely the case, compressed).

3. Yes stretching can make things worse, by adding irritation to an already irritated dynamic. Thus the increase in symptoms.

4. If heat makes things worse, then it's probably not a great option for yo.

5. See: How To Reduce Inflammation

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Wrist Tendonitis Q&A.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.