Tendonitis and Musicians

Athletes are not the only individuals to get tendonitis. Workers who do repetitive motions are prone to tendonitis as well as computer users and typists. Carpenters, assembly line workers, tennis players and those who play computer games repeatedly encounter many occupational hazards.

Another group of individuals who are prone to tendonitis are musicians. Musicians who play string instruments are at risk for tendonitis because of the repeated controlled movements involved in drawing the bow across the strings.

Problem Areas

Common places for tendonitis for musicians are the base of the thumb and the wrist as well as the shoulder and hand. Like sports, musical instrument playing requires lots of physical movement and conditioning and have similar muscle and tendon related issues so going to a sports medicine doctor can be beneficial for a musician who finds they suffering from tendonitis.

A musician may first experience tendonitis as a pain in one spot in the wrist, or on the elbow or at the base of the thumb. You may feel a burning pain or a severe pain when the affected part is moved in a certain manner.

If you ignore the pain it will worsen and if treatment is not undertaken you may experience months of pain and perhaps even a total inability to play your instrument.


As most musicians need to play for a living, preventing tendonitis is a must. One important preventative measure is to always warm up before playing. You also need to learn how to adapt a relaxed playing posture. Warming up for at least 30 minutes before playing allows your tendons to be more relaxed and the muscles to be warm.

Doing non-stressful movements such as flexing your wrist, arm or fingers are all of a warm up that is usually required. Some musicians use light duty squeeze ball or exercise putty as part of their warm up exercise.

Another way to prevent tendonitis is to do exercises that will build up muscle strength for playing your instrument. You can do arm strengthening exercises or weight lifting with fairly light weight (3 to 4 pounds) on a regular basis everyday.

Increasing circulation in your fingers by immersing cold fingers in warm water before playing is another way to prevent tendonitis as this increases circulation. Cold fingers are a problem especially in cold winter months when you come in from outside and your digits are freezing. You are expected to play with cold fingers (not a good idea). Save time to run to the restroom where you can run them under warm water.

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