Tendonitis is one of those things musicians fear, along with airplanes and clowns, but often don’t know how to prevent. Tendonitis is basically a tender tendon caused by inflammation or microscopic tears in the tendon’s sheath.
Tendonitis is closely related to another fear held by most musicians, that known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A nerve called the median nerve passes from the forearm to the hand through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This median nerve shares that tunnel with 9 tendons. If those tendons become inflamed, it can cause compression of of the median nerve. This leads to a severe weakening of the muscles that can prevent a musician from holding a pick, or fretting an instrument.
These conditions can be caused by overuse and bad posture. And playing music might not be the only culprit, excessive time at the computer with bad posture could be a major factor as well.
I’m not a doctor and my advice is purely amateur. I’ve been dealing with a little fatigue and weakness in my right hand lately. It’s probably caused by to much time at the computer in my case, and I thought I’d share some of what I’ve read on the subject. If you are suffering from any inflammation or other symptoms you should probably see a medical professional.
If you are just concerned about preventing such problems, the best advice seems to be: practice good posture, and take a ten minute break once an hour. Learning a stretching and warm up routine, such as taught by Alan Bibey, might help as well.