What Is Rhomboid Tendinitis?


Rhomboid muscles join the inner edges of shoulder blades to the spine. When the muscle fibers are stretched or torn, a strain or injury results. It is a common problem for athletes and occurs frequently in games such as tennis or rowing. Comprehensive knowledge about rhomboid tendinitis is important for players to take immediate and effective action.

Rhomboid Muscles

These muscles are located in the upper spine and are connected to the shoulder blade. These are important muscles and hold a lot of tension and pain among shoulders, neck and pectoral muscles. There is a major rhomboid and minor rhomboid. Rhomboid tendinitis is caused when the muscles become inflamed and cause severe pain and discomfort.


A major cause of rhomboid tendinitis is the overuse of your shoulder and arm. Besides athletes, people who carry heavy backpacks, have poor posture or use the computer for prolonged periods can suffer from rhomboid tendinitis.


Pain in the upper back, spasms or tightening in the muscles between shoulder blades and spine are some of the common symptoms of rhomboid tendinitis.


The immediate treatment for rhomboid tendinitis is minimizing and limiting the amount of inflammation by a regimen known as RICE, short for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also to be given as a first measure. Depending on the severity of the injury, hot and cold treatments are applied. For speedy recovery, ultrasound and electrotherapy are other options. In later stages, physical therapy and massage can strengthen and restore motion and elasticity of the damaged tissues, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. The duration of the recovery period depends on age, health and the amount of previous injuries, if any. Milder rhomboid tendinitis may take a few weeks to recover, while a severe injury could take six weeks or longer, according to MayoClinic.com.


The best preventive measure is warming up properly and stretching before starting activities such as tennis, rowing or any other overhead movements. A number of rhomboid exercises can be carried out, but discuss these with a physiotherapist first, according to PhysioAdvisor.com. The basic rhomboid strengthening exercise should be performed approximately 3 times daily and increased gradually so it does not cause or increase pain. Some of the exercises are shoulder blade squeeze, darts, pull back vs. resistance band, arms above head in lying, seated row and rhomboid pullbacks on Swiss ball.

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