In my practice, both “on and off the pitch”, I see tendonitis all the time. Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon – the strong connective tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. Tendons are an essential part of our body mechanics, as they work with muscles to move joints and help maintain posture. However, tendons do have their limits. If they are put under too much stress, whether sudden or gradual, they can become irritated resulting in pain sometimes lasting a very long time.
Typically affecting the elbow, knee, hip, shoulder and ankle, sufferers of tendonitis often feel pain (a dull ache) when moving the affected joint or limb, may feel tenderness in the area when it is touched and there may be swelling.
The most common cause of tendonitis is repetitive movement over long intervals. Examples include sporting activities (e.g. excessive running); occupational stresses (e.g. lifting heavy bags of flour); or other hobbies involving repetition (e.g. gardening). All of these can overload a tendon, which over time can cause pain. Putting tendons through atypical activities can also be a cause of tendonitis.
Left untreated, tendonitis can increase the risk of tendinosis (degeneration of the tendon) or even tendon rupture. Luckily, with a few simple self-care techniques the condition can often be improved and, in many cases, reversed:
Rest, ice and avoid activities that aggravate the pain
Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce swelling
Vary activities and exercise. Instead of putting your body through the same movements, especially if they cause you pain, try something different. If you run, try lower impact exercise such as swimming or cycling
Incorporate rest days into your routine and stick to them. Rest is vital to ensure your body recovers and repairs itself
Ensure you warm up properly before exercising
Always stretch after you’ve done exercise, not before. Stretching “cold muscles” increases your risk of tendon injury. Stretching will help to increase flexibility and improve blood flow to the area, aiding recovery
Check technique. If you play a sport and your technique is incorrect, you could be unknowingly setting yourself up for tendon problems. Speak to a professional who can help address this
If your job is desk-based, make sure your workspace adjusted and set up correctly so to help maintain good posture. Get up and move around regularly
Specific strengthening exercises can be incredibly helpful for tendonitis. Speak to a professional for an accurate diagnosis and for a personalised exercise programme
Soft tissue massage techniques can often be employed to improve blood flow into the tendon and help soften up any adhesions formed over time. That’s the reason why I see so many tendon injuries in my practice. Massage therapy combined with exercise often works a treat!
Taking on the aforesaid advice, many will start to feel an improvement in just a few days,
however it can take weeks or months to fully recover depending on the severity of the injury.
If you have any questions or think you may be suffering from tendonitis and require advice or treatment, please feel free to contact the clinic and speak to one of our team.