When you have an ache or pain, you might be inclined to just work through it. But there's pain, and then there's pain -- the excessive discomfort that won't go away could be a sign that there's something wrong. When your shoulder is painful, for example, and it gets worse when you move it, you may have tendinitis, a condition that is typically aggravated by exercises that stress your shoulder joint, such as pushups.
Pushups and Tendinitis
When you do a pushup, your arms and shoulders support most of your weight. This can aggravate a condition like tendinitis, especially since the recommended treatment for it is to rest and avoid the movements that cause pain. Additionally, if you've had tendinitis before, the repetitive motion of too many pushups could cause it to flare up again.
You could get tendinitis in your shoulder from overusing it. That could happen while playing sports or exercising, or could occur from holding your arm in one position for a long time, such as when you paint a wall or work on the computer. Even sleeping in the same position or lying on one particular arm every night, can cause tendinitis in your rotator cuff. Injury is another cause of tendinitis in the shoulder. If you fall or your shoulder is suddenly jerked when you attempt to lift a heavy object you could tear the tendons in your rotator cuff resulting in tendinitis.
Exercises for Shoulder Tendinitis
Although rest will be the initial recommendation of your doctor if you get tendinitis in your shoulder, once you start recovering he'll have you work with a physical therapist to help you get back to functioning normally. Stretching the muscles and tendons in and around your shoulder will come first with stretching movements, such as an anterior shoulder stretch done with a towel, stretching the back of your shoulder and doing wall stretches. Some of the exercises your physical therapist will have you do might include retraction exercises for your shoulder blades done with and without rubber resistance tubing, internal and external shoulder rotations, and isometric exercises for your shoulders.
Initially your therapist might have you do wall pushups to keep the majority of your body weight off your shoulders. These are done just like a normal pushup, only you perform them standing up while pressing into and away from the wall. Eventually, once your injury is healed, your physical therapist may allow you to do a pushup plus exercise to further build shoulder strength. This type of pushup emphasizes the shoulder movement at the top of the exercise and you only lower yourself to shoulder-height instead of all the way to the floor to keep the stress on your rotator cuff minimal.
- Medline Plus: Rotator Cuff Exercises
- Medline Plus: Rotator Cuff Problems
- Mayo Clinic: Rotator Cuff Injury
- Disorders of the Shoulder: Diagnosis & Management, Volume 1; Edited by Joseph P. Iannotti and Gerald R. Williams
- Medline Plus: Tendinitis
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stage 1
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.