With spring in bloom there’s lots of opportunity to move, get yard work done, bicycle, work out and more. It feels good, but just look out for Tendinitis. It can sneak up on you when your over zealous in getting it all in.
First let’s look at what causes tendinitis. This way we might avoid it!
• Repetitive movements or series of movements (doing too many sun salutations or raking non-stop)
• Movements with high force on the muscle or tendon (lifting weights that are too heavy or garden pots)
• Excessive stretching of muscles (easy to do in hot yoga class)
• Fast, rapid or jerky movements (especially when not warmed up)
• Reduced muscle strength increases stress on tendons
• Not enough rest after injury – resuming exercise before muscles and tendons are fully healed
Your symptoms can appear suddenly (a rapid movement pulls a muscle) or develop over a period of time (overusing the same muscle group). But once they appear if you address them instead of ignoring them, the symptoms won’t worsen and your healing will be quicker.
Symptoms of Tendinitis
• Begins as nagging pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding muscles. Pain can sharp or dull, aching or burning and radiate up or down the limb.
• Pain can be aggravated by full range of movement and / or resistance applied (i.e. weights, carrying a heavy object)
• Pain can be specific to certain positions and actions such as difficulty gripping a pot with the arm straight (tennis elbow) or turning a key (thumb tendinitis).
• Inflammation and swelling at the tendon, joint or surrounding area
• Sometimes redness and warmth occurs at the site of pain
The pain can be constant with stiffness too. If redness, warmth and inflammation occur this is a sign that you need to treatment.
If tendinitis and pain are mild, self management is possible. If it’s moderate to severe or constant seek the advice of medical professionals. Remember the acronym RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation. It’s always good to start with this.
Complete rest of the sore tendon will allow the healing process to begin. Generally 2 or more weeks is needed. Continuing the repetitive or forceful movements that caused it will only aggravate and worsen symptoms.
If it’s not possible to completely rest, try to alter any activity that causes pain or puts stress on the tendon. Notice what movements causes or increases pain then avoid doing this movement. Using correct body positioning and body mechanics will reduce stress on your muscles and tendons.
Reduce Pain & Swelling:
Elevate the affected limb and wrap it in cold packs for 10-20 minutes 2 – 4 times a day. Try to keep the area elevated above your heart to help minimize swelling. A bag of frozen peas works well to ice small areas like the thumb or wrist.
An ice massage directly on the painful area is also very effective. Use an ice cube wrapped in wash cloth or you can freeze water in a star foam or Dixie cup (for smaller joints), then peel away the paper. Rub ice directly over and around the area for 2-4 minutes until numb. Do not leave the ice in one place on the skin. Do this 2 to 4 times a day.
Elastic wraps (ace bandages), stretchable joint supports, compression gloves, wrist braces for tendinitis, and soft splints can reduce pain and swelling by providing even pressure around the affected tendons and muscles. They also serve as a visual reminder to take it easy on this area. Make sure that elastic bandages are not wrapped too tight. This can cause more swelling above/below the affected area. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage.
Our Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs) provides tendinitis wrist support and are good to use if you have mild tendinitis of the wrist or basal thumb joint. The Ultra or the Fusion style with the wrist wrap is generally preferred because it adds extra support and compression to the tendons.
Therapy for Tendinitis-
Seek the advice of a medical practitioner if your tendinitis persists. You likely need the treatment of a skilled physical or occupational therapist to control your symptoms. An evaluation of your body mechanics and ergonomics can be really helpful.
The course of therapy to improve tendinitis may include:
• Splinting for complete immobilization and rest
• Semi-rigid, soft supports or kineseotaping
• Posture analysis and instruction in proper body mechanics
• Ergonomic training, work station modification or use of adaptive aids
• Modalities such as ultra-sound or electrical stimulation may be used
• Soft tissue mobilization / Graston Technique (GT)
• Progressive strengthening and endurance conditioning once symptoms have subsided
• Topical creams for pain relief and swelling may be recommended
• Anti-inflammatory medication and steroid injections (as prescribed by MD)
Tendinitis can sneak up on you and wreak havoc! Make sure you don’t have to sit out with an injury by always warming up first. Gentle movements and stretches before exercising or yard work are a good idea. When doing yard work watch that you don’t do the same movements repeatedly (common in raking). Pace yourself if starting a new workout until you build up your strength and endurance. Listen to your body’s warning signal and don’t ignore pain. Remember to mix it up so you’re not using the same muscle groups repeatedly in the same motions. Doing the same thing over and over makes you prone to tendinitis. Remember variety IS the spice of life!
If you want some wrist support check out our WAGs.