Maybe you’ve been a bit overzealous in attacking your resolution to get in shape? Don’t let your enthusiasm land you on the sidelines with an injury. Often known as the ‘Weekend Warrior’ syndrome, it’s easy to let an overuse injury sneak up. More commonly referred to as tendinitis, the symptoms can appear suddenly or develop over time. What causes Tendinitis? …
Causes of Tendinitis
• Repetitive movements or series of movements (doing too many burbees or sun salutations)
• Movements with high force on the muscle or tendon (kettle bells, lifting heavy weights)
• Excessive stretching of muscles (overstretching – easy to do in hot yoga class)
• Fast, rapid or jerky movements
• Awkward or prolonged static postures and positions
• Reduced muscle strength increases stress on tendons
• Not enough rest after injury – resuming exercise before muscles and tendons are fully healed
Symptoms of Tendinitis
• Begins as nagging pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding muscles. Pain can be sharp or dull or aching.
• Constant pain -over time pain and stiffness increase and radiate up or down the limb.
• Pain can be aggravated by full range of movement and / or resistance applied
• Pain can be specific to certain positions and actions (difficulty turning a key with thumb tendinitis).
• Inflammation and swelling at the tendon, joint or surrounding area
• Sometimes redness and warmth occur at the site of pain
If tendinitis and pain is 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.
Complete rest of the sore tendon will allow the healing process to begin. Generally 3 or more weeks is needed to heal tendinitis. Continuing the repetitive or forceful movements that caused it will only aggravate and worsen your symptoms.
If it’s not possible to completely rest, such as in work, try to alter any activity that causes pain or puts stress on the tendon. Notice what movements or range of motion causes or increases pain then avoid doing this movement or use an alternative way. Using optimal body positioning and correct body mechanics will also reduce stress on muscles and tendons.
Reduce Pain & Swelling:
Elevate the affected limb and wrap in cold packs for 10-20 minutes 2 – 4 times a day. Try to keep the area elevated at or above the level of 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 freeze water in a small cup, then peel away the paper at the top. 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. Caution that elastic bandages are not wrapped too tight. This can cause more swelling above and below the affected area. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area above / below the bandage. Our Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs), with the elastic strap provides wrist support for tendinitis, arthritis and other hand pain as well. The Ultra and Fusion models have the wrist strap for some added joint compression.
Therapy for Tendinitis-
If your tendinitis persists or is severe and you may need the treatment of a skilled physical or occupational therapist to control your symptoms, evaluate body mechanics and proper ergonomics. 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)
• Progressing 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)
Don’t let tendinitis wreak havoc on your workout and fitness goals. Take precautions like make sure you always warm up and stretch before exercising. Pace yourself when starting a new workout and let your strength and endurance build up slowly. 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. This not only makes you prone to tendinitis, you’ll quickly get bored. After all variety IS the spice of life! Check out our WAGs weight lifting gloves with wrist support!