An astounding interconnected web of muscle, tissue, and bone, the human body is miraculous. However, it does have its limits.
Tendonitis occurs when the body’s tendons – the thick, sinewy muscles that bind muscle to bone – become inflamed and irritated due to overexertion. While it can occur in many regions of the body, it tends to target the elbows (tennis elbow), wrists, shoulders, knees, and heels.
Tendinitis inflicts pain for two main reasons: sudden injury and wear-and-tear over time – with the latter being more common.
Are you hitting the links every weekend, or overdoing it on the tennis court? If so, you may have noticed a dull ache, swelling and tenderness at the affected site. Weekend warriors are especially prone to these conditions. Unlike the seasoned athlete, these hobbyists can take things one step too far. In some cases, a job that requires repetitive movements – such as farming, manufacturing, or construction – can cause tendonitis. This condition is one of the most frequently reported workers’ compensation complaints.
One of most valuable lessons in preventing tendonitis is to take a rest when it’s needed. It sounds simple enough, but remember to keep it in mind. If you feel sore after a hard day’s work or a tough match, practice RICE therapy, which consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. While most consider this to be a remedial measure, it can prevent future injuries as well. Mix things up; consider selecting activities based on how your body responds to them. If weight training doesn’t agree with you, try a Pilates or yoga class as an alternative.
When it comes to work, it’s not easy to change your profession. However, you can adjust your work environment. If you work at a job that requires grueling hours hunched over a desk, consider making your workspace a little more ergonomic. Try adjusting the height of your chair and keyboard, or ask your office manager about getting a desk stand, or more comfortable chair. If you’re suffering from tennis elbow, or are developing tendonitis of the ankle, wear a compression brace. This can help to stabilize the area while it’s mobile.
Rather than working out solely on weekends, spread things out. Make time for a mid-week gym session, even if it’s only during your 30-minute lunch break. If you play sports during a certain season, it’s important to stay in shape throughout the whole year. The University of Rochester medical center recommends building both strength and flexibility exercises in the months leading up to participation in sports.
Luke Skywalker had Yoda, the Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi – and you, too can learn from a master (of your sport, that is). Do you play a sport? Seek the advice of a pro; individualized lessons can make a world of difference. Did you know that the way your racquet is strung can make you more susceptible to tennis elbow? An instructor can address this and a number of other issues, such as how to correctly hold and swing a club or racquet.
Don’t let tendonitis take you away from your favorite pastimes, or keep you out of work for long periods. Practicing these and a few other preventive measures will ensure you get back to it sooner.
The physicians at Movement Orthopedics are highly skilled at treating overuse injuries and can assist you in crafting a personalized plan to suit your needs. To schedule a consultation, call (586) 436-3785.