A common complaint seen at TWC is Tendonitis, increasingly referred to as Tendinopathy.
Tendonitis is caused by tendons - the thick cords that join your muscles to your bones- becoming irritated or inflamed. Tendinopathy refers to damage done to a tendon usually due to repeated use. Tendonitis / Tendinopathy can cause acute pain and tenderness and make it difficult to move the affected joint.
Any tendon can develop tendonitis, but it is more likely to develop in the shoulder, knee, elbow, heel, or wrist which is why it is often referred to as:
- swimmer’s shoulder
- pitcher’s shoulder
- jumper’s knee
- golfer’s elbow
- tennis elbow
Tendinopathy is more usual in the Achilles tendon and Rotator Cuff tendons.
What causes tendinitis?
Tendons help us to make a certain movement over and over. Tendonitis may develop if the same motions are frequently made, such as when while playing sports or working, and the risk increases if the motion is performed incorrectly.
Tendonitis can also result from:
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain antibiotics (quinolones such as Levaquin)
Athletes who participate in particular sports, such as tennis, golf, bowling, or basketball, are at a higher risk of tendonitis. Individuals may also be at a higher risk if their job requires physical exertion, overhead lifting, or repetitive motions or tasks.
The pain from tendonitis is typically a dull ache concentrated around the affected area or joint, which increases when the injured area is moved. The area can also be tender to touch, feel tight and difficult to move, and there may also be some local swelling.
Treatment options for tendonitis help reduce pain and inflammation in the tendon. Some basic home remedies include:
- Resting the tendon
- Applying heat or ice
- Taking medications, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
- Stretches and exercises to build strength and improve mobility in the area
A single corticosteroid injection can reduce pain and inflammation, but repeated injections can cause the tendon to weaken and increase your chances of injury.
It may be helpful to have imaging of the area such as ultrasound to determine how advanced the changes are in the tendon.
Before commencing any treatments, our Chiropractors would take a thorough case history and perform a physical examination to determine which structures are affected, as well as exploring potential causes. They would then implement management strategies which would be tailored to the patient and their needs.
For example - hands-on care for tennis elbow would include, education, muscle and tendon manipulation, acupuncture/dry needling, kinesiology taping, exercise and tissue loading management.
When treated early, tendonitis usually resolves quickly. For some people, it can recur and become a chronic or long-term problem. If repetitive movements or overuse led to your tendonitis, you should change those behaviors to reduce your risk of developing it again after it heals.
How to keep tendon inflammation at bay
Take these simple steps to lower your chances of developing tendonitis:
- Keep physically fit and build your muscle tone.
- Warm up before exercising.
- Avoid over use and repetitive motions.
- Cross-train if you are an athlete.
- Use proper posture when working at a desk or doing other tasks.
- Don’t remain in the same position for too long. Move around periodically.
- Use proper equipment at work and during athletic activities.
If you begin to feel the pain of tendonitis, stop your activity. Take a 20-minute break to apply ice and rest.
Look out for our blog next month where we will look at how the use of Vitamins and Supplements may help with certain inflammatory conditions.