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The Facts Put Simply

Learn About Tendonitis and Equip Yourself to Fight Back!

Subject matter Quick Links for this page…

1) What Is Tendonitis?
2) Tendonitis Facts
3) Who is at risk to get Tendonitis?
4) Causes of Tendonitis
5) Symptoms of Tendonitis
6) What can you do to prevent Tendonitis?
7) What can you do to combat Tendonitis?

What Is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis (also spelled Tendinitis) is defined as the inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon. Some other ailments that reference tendonitis are tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, pitcher's shoulder, swimmer's shoulder and jumper's knee. Other medical terms for it are Calcific tendonitis or Bicipital tendonitis

What Is A Tendon?

A Tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. Tendons may also attach muscles to structures such as the eyeball. A tendon serves to move the bone or structure.

A Ligament is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches bone to bone, and usually serves to hold structures together and keep them stable.

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Tendonitis facts:

• Tendonitis is usually an acute (short term) condition but may become chronic (long-term) in some cases
• The pain from Tendonitis is usually the result of a small tear in or inflammation of the tendon that links your muscles to your bone
• If not addressed adequately, it can cause permanent damage to the tissue that makes up your tendons and also lead to the rupture of the affected tendon
• It can occur in any tendon, but the most commonly affected joints are the shoulder, the wrist, the heel (at the Achilles tendon), and the elbow.

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Who is a risk to get Tendonitis?

• People that engage in repetitive motions of the arms or legs have the highest likelihood of contracting the condition. Athletes such as baseball players, swimmers, tennis players and golfers are highly susceptible to tendonitis in the joints that they rely on in order to play their respective sport
• Likewise, other professions that require a person to repeat a movement over and again (i.e. construction worker) are at increased risk
• As you get older, your risk increases due to the loss of elasticity that occurs in muscles and tendons
• Athlete’s that engage in sports using Improper technique risk overloading tissues and tendons which can contribute to tendonitis
• People that have other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes

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Causes of Tendonitis:

• The most common cause of tendonitis is injury or overuse (prolonged repetitive strain) of a joint during work or play
• Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can predispose someone to Tendonitis
• The wear and tear of aging, direct injury or inflammatory diseases

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Symptoms of Tendonitis:

• Pain in the affected joint
• Tenderness on and around the joint
• Increase of pain with movement
• Symptoms of some specific forms of Tendonitis:
o Tennis elbow - causes pain on the out side of the forearm near the elbow when as the forearm is rotated or as an object. Is gripped
o Achilles tendonitis - causes pain just above your heel
o Adductor tendonitis – causes pain in your groin
o Patellar tendonitis – causes pain just below your kneecap
o Rotator cuff tendonitis – causes shoulder pain
• Pain gets worse as movement increases
• Pain is more prevalent at night
• Inflamation of the tendon
• Swelling of the overlying skin which may be warm and red
• In severe cases the tendon may rupture
• In small joints like the finger, there is a risk that if the tissue that surrounds the tendon becomes scarred and narrowed, the tendon lock in one position. This is what happens in the condition called trigger finger

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What can you do to prevent Tendonitis?

• Avoid or minimize repetitive motions and overuse of joints and tendons
• Warm up your muscles and joints by engaing in stretching and light exercise before performing any vigorous activity. Take a few minutes to cool down afterwards
• To the extent that you are able, engage in regular execise and strength training to keep all of your muscles strong and flexible
• When exercising avoid activities that place excessive stress on your tendons, especially for prolonged periods. For example, long or intense periods of uphill running can contribute to Achilles tendonitis
• Use common sense! If you notice pain while performing a particular exercise, stop immediately and rest. Consider doing a different variation of the exercise or activity that doesn’t cause pain
• Use good technique in activities and exercises. Flawed technique can weaken joints and muscles and set you up for problems with your tendons. Take lessons or get professional instruction when starting a new sport or using a new piece of exercise equipment
• Assess your ergonomics at home, in the workplace, in the car, etc. Ensuring that the places that you spend large amounts of time are ergonomically correct is essential to ensure that no tendons are continually stressed or overloaded

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What can you do to combat Tendonitis?

Medication: (click this link to learn more)

o Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or products containing acetaminophen (Tylenol), may aid to reduce pain and inflammation. If you take NSAIDS frequently or take more than the recommended dose, these medications can cause stomach pain, stomach bleeding and ulcers. In rare instances, prolonged use can disrupt normal kidney function. If you have liver problems, talk to your doctor before using products containing acetaminophen.
o Steroid injections (such as cortisone) into the tendon sheath are also sometimes used to help reduce inflamation and pain to allow physical therapy to start. However, there are potential risks such as weakening the tendon and increasing the risk of rupture of the tendon.

Natural Supplementation: (click this link to learn more)
Natural supplements can fill a deficiency in a person’s diet and add that extra kick to a persons diet to ensure that your body has the essential building blocks and nutrients that it requires to repair and maintain healthy joints. The research and the results have proven that supplementation can have a dramatically beneficial effect on joint health without the risk of dangerous side effects.

Diet: (click this link to learn more)Much research is continuing into the links between what you eat and the various forms of Arthritis. From the research evidence so far, we recommend that you should:

• Pay close attention to portion size at every meal and only eat when you are hungry
• Drink plenty of water and avoid beverages that are high in caffeine and/or sugar
• Eat less sugar and fat, especially saturated fat, and try to use olive oil in your diet
• Eat more fruit and vegetables, especially brightly coloured varieties
• Eat plenty of calcium and iron rich foods
• (more Diet related information)

Most cases of tendonitis don't require a doctor's care as symptoms will usually improve by resting and immobilizing the affected tendon

Lifestyle change:
If the injury is caused by overuse, a change in work routine or sporting technique may be required to prevent recurrence of the problem. If you continue to use the damaged joint while you still have symptoms, the condition is likely to heal slower and it’s more likely to progress to a chronic condition (tendonosis or tendinopathy). The result is a change in the structure of the tendon to a weaker, more fibrous tissue

Exercise, Stretching and Physical Therapy:
Physical therapy is important during the recovery phase as you need to continue to move the joint through its natrual range of motion to prevent it from stiffening up. Stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons is essential to restoring proper function properly, aiding healing, and preventing future injury People with tendonitis may also benefit from a program of specific exercise designed to strengthen the force-absorbing capability of the muscles and tendons. Swimming and water exercises are very beneficial and often well tolerated

In rare instances surgery is needed to remove the inflammed tissue from around the tendon


• Using a splint, removable brace or Compression bandage is often helpful for both avoiding pain and allowing for recuperation
• Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help ease swelling and numb the pain. To decrease pain, muscle spasm and swelling, apply ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes, several times a day. Ice packs, ice massage or slush baths all can help. For an ice massage, freeze a plastic foam cup full of water so that you can hold the cup while applying the ice directly to the skin
• If tendonitis affects your knee or ankle joint, elevate the affected leg above the level of your heart to minimize swelling. It's especially important to elevate the leg at night

Take good care of your joints & go from the sidelines to the Winners Circle!

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