Tendonitis is the primary cause of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), a work-related musculoskeletal injury familiar to many treeplanters. It is a painful inflammatory condition caused by strain, trauma, overstretching of the tendon and/or it’s surrounding sheath, or overuse of the associated joints or muscles.


A Repetitive Strain Injury can develop from tendonitis due to repetition of the same movement such as gripping or twisting (like putting your shovel in the ground hundreds of times each day!). Unfortunately, tendons heal very slowly, especially following RSI’s, which can take months to heal. The best approach for healing this frustrating injury is with prevention, early recognition and treatment.

Tendons are the strong connective tissues that attach muscle to bone. They are encased in thin protective sheaths through which the tendons slide as a joint is moved. The interior surfaces of these sheaths produce a lubricating fluid to allow ease and freedom of movement. When tendonitis occurs, inflammation restricts movement of the tendon in its sheath and the amount of lubrication produced which may also constrict the sheath around the tendon. This can result in pain, restricted movement, nerve compression and other related symptoms. Chronic tendonitis can also lead to small tears or ruptures in the tendon, build up of scar tissue, and other long-term ramifications.