Arthritis joint bone and muscle
01 Apr 2010
blackmores naturopath

Blackmores

Tendonitis

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Tendonitis is an inflammation in or around the tendons, which are bands of strong fibrous tissue that attach muscles to bones.

Symptoms

  • Pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness of the affected area
  • Reduced range of motion
  • The tissue may feel warm or hot to touch
  • Commonly affected areas include the shoulder, wrist, knee, shin and heel

Causes

Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, a band of connective tissue that connects a bone and a muscle.

It can be associated with a wide range of factors that place repetitive or ongoing strain on the tendons, including:

  • Sporting activities such as running, jumping, or other high impact activities, especially when performed on hard surfaces
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Poor sporting technique (for example, an incorrect golf swing, or the use of sporting equipment that is too heavy)
  • Maintaining awkward positions for long periods of time
  • Being obese

Tendonitis is more likely to occur if you don’t warm up properly prior to exercising, if you exercise in cold environments, or if you don’t allow sufficient recovery time between exercise sessions.

Other contributing factors may include the presence of bony spurs on the heels or calcium deposits in the tendons.

Diet and lifestyle

  • Seek medical advice for any injury in order to ensure the problem is correctly diagnosed and appropriately treated.
  • Apply an icepack to the affected area for 10-15 minutes several times a day for the first few days, and rest the affected body part by avoiding any activity that is painful.
  • Note that continuing to use the joint affected by tendonitis may exacerbate the problem – a period of two weeks rest is recommended.
  • In some cases, physiotherapy and strengthening and/or conditioning exercises may be required to restore the injured part to its original condition.
  • Your healthcare professional may recommend immobilising the joint with the use of a sling or splint.
  • Take steps to prevent injuries before they happen by:
    • Stretching and warming up before you start, and cooling down after you’re finished
    • Allowing sufficient recovery time between bouts of activity
    • Paying attention to your technique
    • Using appropriate shoes, knee and elbow guards and other protective gear. Orthotic insoles in your shoes may help to ease strain on tendons caused by structural abnormalities (such as flat feet)
    • Maintaining your overall health and fitness, and exercising at an intensity that is appropriate to your fitness level
    • Taping or strapping any joints that have bothered you in the past, as advised by your health care professional
    • Arranging your work environment and workload in a way that allows you to take regular breaks from repetitive activity
  • If you’re overweight, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight may help to reduce the strain on your tendons.

Important notes

  • It is important that any sports injury is investigated and diagnosed by your doctor to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.
  • Don’t return to your sporting activity after an injury until your healthcare professional gives you the go ahead.  In some cases, returning to sport too early can exacerbate the damage and delay recovery.
  • See your doctor if your tendonitis is severe or persistent. In some circumstances surgery is required to repair the injured tissue.

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