Remember the –itis from a previous blog Plantar Fasciitis? Itis at the end of a word means, “an inflammation of…” In this case, tendonitis, itis is referring to the inflammation in a tendon. The most common areas that tendonitis is found are:
- The shoulder
- The elbow
- Behind the heel
- The wrist
You may be familiar with some of the terms “thrower’s/pitcher’s shoulder,” “tennis elbow,” “jumper’s knee,” or “golfer’s elbow,” tendonitis can be found in any tendon. The above are the most common.
How do I know if I have tendonitis?
The symptoms to look for with tendonitis are:
- some people have a dull achy pain
- others have a more sharp when performing an action that caused the tendonitis
Tendons attach bone to muscle. Tendonitis typically affects the area that the bone attaches to the tendon. If you have tendonitis in your Achilles tendon, the inflammation or swelling is going to be down at the heel. The tenderness will be in the same area, but may run up the soleus (muscle between the calf and ankle).
Why or how did I get tendonitis?
Do you make repetitive movements daily? Do you do any activity often enough that it puts stress on any tendons particularly in the one that is giving you grief now? Any of the following can give you tendonitis:
- Running (in any manner or speed)
- Basket ball
- Chores or house hold activities
Sometimes a person is overweight and puts too much stress on their body when they start working out. The tendons are not familiar with new activity that requires more strength and flexibility, especially if you’re over weight. It is important that when you (anyone with any shape) decide to work out again after a long period of immobility, you need to have a professional give you a start out plan. If you don’t you may be out for two to three weeks and lose your motivation.
Tendonitis can be caused by an abrupt movement where such force was put on the tendon. Most cases are gradual. Something a person does consistently that is always stressing the tendon.
Also take a look at your age and how flexible you are. As we age our bodies and tendons become less lubricated, which leads to less flexibility. When we are less flexible the body is easily injured.
What do I do now?
If the area is swollen get some ice on it. Practice R.I.C.E. ( Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). You need to give it rest. You can find a different exercise that doesn’t aggravate the tendon to be doing while you heal. Some people with Achillies tendonitis lay off running, but swim and bike if it feels fine. If you have tendonitis in your shoulder or elbow you may consider walking, biking, stair stepper or elliptical. There are many possibilities to still stay in shape and cope with your tendonitis. If your tendonitis is swollen you should ice every day. Ice for about 15- 20 minutes on then take the ice off for a bit, then you can ice again later. Once the swelling has gone down start introducing heat after the icing to promote fresh blood.
Physical therapy should be something you’re looking into especially if you have a more severe case of tendonitis. The physical therapy is going to work on your range of motion and strengthening.
What should I avoid?
You should avoid pushing yourself through the pain. You may seem like a “tough guy or gal” for pushing through it, but it really just shows weakness on how well you know and trust your body. Trust your body, give it a rest, and find a different activity. If you decide to push through it you can easily rupture your tendon. That means you’re going to be laid up in a bed for about a month or two, and your possibilities for surgery shoot up. I suggest you be smart and take care of yourself.
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