Simply put, tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Now, tendons are tough, flexible, and fibrous, but they can be strained either directly through a sudden injury or strain, or slowly over time through overuse. Along with the tendon itself, the sheath that surrounds the tendon can become inflamed as well. This is referred to as tenosynovitis.
Sudden injuries and repetitious movements. Consider the tendons in your hands if you type for a living like a writer, or your knees if you play basketball every week, or your lower back if you’re constantly carrying things at work. Most tendonitis is caused by overuse, meaning the tendons aren’t given enough time to relax and repair over an extended period of time so they become worn down. Then, of course, we must consider how tendons age with the body and become more susceptible to inflammation as we get older.
Movement is usually the key indicator, or in other words, moving the muscles attached to the tendon. If you experience pain and it gets worse through your range of motion that’s a sign. If you ever feel like there’s a crackling or grating feeling that’s a serious sign as well. After an injury to the tendon you may see some swelling, it may become hot in the affected area, and you may even see a lump develop. If you see a redness under the skin, that could be blood showing you’ve torn the tendon and should seek medical attention.
Well, if we don’t count all the many smaller muscles all over everywhere, there are approximately 1,320 tendons in your body. As such, there are far too many potential places for tendonitis to strike to list here. It often depends on your activities, lifestyle, health, etc. The most common include Achilles tendinitis, shoulder tendons, tennis elbow, the hands, wrists, and knees. What’s important is how it’s impacting your life. The first step is getting a proper diagnosis.
It depends on your particular situation, how you and your body reacted to the initial pain (rest, heat & cold packs, etc.) and so on. For more severe cases we may get the impacted area bandaged up, put it in a splint or brace, and give you some support to limit the usage of those muscles. Truth is, if you don’t rest (to a degree), it could get worse and lead to longer more drawn out complications. At a minimum, wait for the inflammation to die down before you start trying to get active again.
Other than rest? Better Health Chiropractic offers a comprehensive set of options ranging from chiropractic services to massage and physical rehabilitation therapies. At home, you can use rolling and myofascial release, function-strength conditioning exercises, and ice. Addressing any underlying causes of tendonitis (misalignments, strains, joint issues, etc.) is essential for recovery. Treatment will vary according to the needs of each patient.
First, be attentive about stretching your muscles and joints before strenuous physical activity. It is incredible how often people wait until they experience a tendon injury before taking stretching seriously. Then it’s about practicing good general health habits and providing yourself with enough time to recover (take breaks once per hour from repetitive motions and sitting). The tendons need to rest, as do your muscles, or there can be no improvement in physical function.
Whether it’s a tendon in your calf or lower back, there are a ton of ways to stretch without making things worse. In fact, stretching and specific types of movements can hasten your recovery and ensure you don’t become stiff or lose range of motion. There are far too many to list here, but as part of working with any of our Alaska chiropractors, massage therapists, or physical rehabilitation specialists, you’ll learn all about the options and how to perform them.