Weekend Warrior Syndrome
Has the sunshine beckoned you outside to play? Are you feeling the effects of being overzealous in your exercising? You may have Tendinitis which is commonly caused from over doing it – too much, too soon. ‘Weekend warriors’, people that exercise hard, primarily on the weekends, are prone to tendinitis. Jumping into tennis and golf games in the spring after a winter off or engaging in an overly rigorous weight lifting routine will lead to tendinitis.
Catching tendinitis early is the key to treating it effectively! But you can also avoid the nagging pain of tendinitis. With some conditioning and a few precautions you can exercise and enjoy your favorite summer activities without tendinitis flaring up.
What makes up a tendon? A tendon is a band of tough, fibrous connective tissues that attaches the muscles to the bones. The attachment site of the tendon on the bone is pulled during muscle contractions and movements. Micro tears in the tendon cause irritation and inflammation impairing the normal smooth gliding motion of the tendon. This inflammation is known as Tendinitis. It’s commonly caused by minor stress and repetitive motion, but can also occur from sudden serious impact or injury. This article focuses on overuse or repetitive motion –doing too much too soon.
Top 3 Causes of Tendonitis
1. Repetitive Strain on the Tendon
Repetitive strain is the most common cause of tendinitis. When you perform the same motion over and over again, often with force added, tendinitis results. Athletes and musicians are prone to tendinitis from the repetitive movements performed in their rigorous practice schedules. People that work on assembly lines or do other work related repetitive motions are susceptible to tendinitis. Weekend warriors as well as enthusiastic fitness buffs can end up with tendinitis by simply over doing it.
2. Adding Stress to the Tendon
Lifting a heavy load repeatedly puts the tendon under strain causes tendinitis. This is common among bodybuilders, especially if they do not properly warm up, use incorrect form or training techniques. Kettle bell exercises can combine momentum with a heavy load. This can easily result in overstretching at the end range of motion, stressing or even tearing tendons. Supporting body weight on the hands repeatedly, such as in vinyasa flow yoga can stress the tendons of the wrist.
3. Being a Boomer
Tendons gradually lose their elasticity as we age which makes boomers more prone to tendonitis. Anyone over 40 is more susceptible to stress and tearing as the tendons start to become less pliable. With less elasticity in the tendon and less flexibility in the muscle the tendon may not move as freely, so it’s subject to strain.
The most common symptom of tendinitis is pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area. Stiffness or tightness can also accompany the pain. The pain usually intensify’s when the tendon is under stress, such as in a pitcher throwing a fast ball. If left untreated tendinitis may progress and the pain can be severe. If the pain is sudden and intense, this can be an indication of a more severe injury to the tendon, such as a tear. Progression of Symptoms:
1. Slight pain during or just following a work out, tennis game or an activity where tendon is under pressure.
2. Pain persists after a day or two of rest even when there is no pressure or resistance to the tendon. There is pain and stiffness with joint movement and range of motion may be restricted.
3. Pain intensifies to a burning sensation around the affected area, especially during or after exercise or work tasks when the tendon is under strain.
Common Places for Tendonitis
Because tendons are present throughout the body, tendonitis can develop anywhere a tendon connects to bone. The most common sites are-
- Base of the Thumb
- Achilles tendon
Want to learn more about how to prevent tendonitis? Preventing tendonitis is much easier then treating it, so a little common sense can go a long way. Apply these suggestions not only to your exercise routine and sports, but to work and leisure activities too.
- Take it Slow: Gradually build up your activity level and ease into sports, exercise and weight lifting especially if you’ve been less active for a period of time. Gradually build up your strength and endurance.
- Warm Up: Always warm up before an activity, especially a strenuous one. Move around for a minimum of 5 minutes lightly moving and exercising the arms, legs and torso. Lift light weights to warm up before attempting heavy lifting. Putting stress on the tendons and joints without warming up first will aggravate the tendons and quickly lead to tendinitis.
- Gently Stretch: Gently stretch muscles and tendons prior to activity and exercise. A tight muscle will naturally exert more pull on the tendon and insertion. Hold each stretch for 20 -30 seconds. Do not bounce. Stretch again following a strenuous activity or exercise. Also increase or maintain flexibility through yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and other mind body disciplines can help keep injuries at bay.
- Limit Repetitions and Forceful Motions. Yoga classes with 20+ repetitions of sun salutations put unnecessary strain on the wrist (unless of course you’re wearing Wrist Assured Gloves) Playing an intense tennis game for 2 hours without being conditioned for it can lead to tennis elbow.
- Strengthen Tendons & Balance Muscles. Light resistance and weight training to improve your muscle and tendon strength is beneficial. Often one muscle group may be stronger, which can add stress to the joints. Work with a knowledgeable trainer to set up a series of exercises for each muscle group. General guidelines are 3 sets of 10 – 20 repetitions of each exercise 3 times per week. Again, gradually build up and don’t overdo it.
- Don’t Ignore Pain. Respect your body’s warning system and pay attention to pain. When you feel pain in your tendons or joints this may be a sign that they’re under too much strain or pressure. Give it a rest or stop the exercise or activity completely. Don’t push through pain.
- Modify the Joint Position or Exercise. Avoiding or modifying an activity that causes tendon and joint pain is a proactive way to avoid developing tendonitis. For example if you are doing a plank and have pain in your wrists when putting weight on your hands, modify the position of the wrist by wearing the WAGs workout gloves with wrist support or using a prop like push-up bars. Alternatively, you can do a plank on your elbows to completely avoid pressure on the wrist tendons. Soft joint supports that provide mild compression and keep the joint warm can also be helpful.
So go ahead and get active. Just follow these 7 tips to help you avoid tendinitis. Recognize early that tendinitis is developing and take positive steps towards prevention. It’s easy to ignore mild pain, but this is the first warning sign. Most importantly, allow the tendon to rest. Consult with your health practitioner early on before the tendinitis progresses from mild to severe. …Or else you’ll be sitting in the golf cart or the court sidelines cheering on your pals! Wrist Assured Gloves will definitely help your thumbs and wrists! Try a pair today, you’ll be glad you did.