Tendonitis is the common name for a range of different injuries that can be caused to the tendons of the bodies various muscles – the strong cords of tissue that connect the muscle and the skeleton, and are needed to move the bones and joints when the muscles contract and relax.
What is Tendonitis?
As I said, Tendonitis is a bit of an umbrella term for tendon injuries and tends to get used to refer to any of the following:
- Tendinopathy – the slow breakdown of a tendon
- Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the tissue that covers the tendon to protect it
- Tendon Rupture – a sudden tear of a tendon
- Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon
What causes the injury?
Tendonitis is normally caused by sports of other activities that involve sudden bursts of movement with a lot of acceleration – such as throwing, jumping or, you guessed it, striking. It can also be caused by repeated heavy use of a tendon, in an activity like running or skipping.
The symptoms can appear in any part of the body that you’re overusing, commonly knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and the back of the heels. Even fingers can be affected. Symptoms can include:
- Pain that gets worse with activity
- A lump on the tendon, or swelling/redness and sometimes heat
- A stiff joint, often worse in the morning where it hasn’t moved all night
- Weakness or lack of movement in the affected area
- The sensation of grinding or cracking as you mobilise the joint
The exception to this is a tendon rupture, which is going to hurt like hell before settling into a steady ache or possibly be painless, but movement is going to get harder or stop altogether.
Can I train through it or do I need to rest?
Rest is best when it comes to tendinitis, when you first pick up Texas injury you need to stop doing what’s caused the damage and avoid anything that makes it hurt more. This stops the damage from getting worse, and allows the tendon to start healing. That said, you need to get moving as soon as possible so you don’t stiffen up, as normally as soon as pain allows you need to gradually restart exercise.
What treatments are there?
Most tendinitis is treated at home with rest and ice, and a support like a knee brace could be helpful. Pain can generally be controlled by over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
If you’re still getting pain after a couple of weeks and it isn’t getting better your doctrine may refer you for some more specialist treatment which could include:
- Physiotherapy – where you’ll be given an exercise program to strengthen muscles and stretch the tendon. They can also refer you for assessment on how you complete a movement to such as running which can tell you if your technique is off and whether that has contributed to the tendinitis.
- Steroid injections – injected into the site, sometimes with a local anaesthetic, these can help to reduce pain, but don’t work for everyone, and you can only have 3 in one area because they can cause side effects.
How do I prevent the injury reoccurring?
There’s no real 100% way to avoid picking up a tendon injury, but you can help reduce your risk by making sure you:
- Warm up properly with some dynamic warm up movements, and cool down with a proper cool down and some stretches.
- Wear the correct gear for the workout you’re doing to protect yourself as much as possible a perfect example is wearing proper running shoes for your roadwork.
- Strengthening your joints and keeping them flexible to make the tendons harder to injure.
The lists of common ways to prevent Tendonitis also included ‘not pushing yourself past your physical capabilities’ but I’m leaving that off because it’s kind of par for the course with fighters. It’s worth noting though, if you’re feeling truly run down you’ll be better off taking a rest day to recover.
Do I need to see my doctor?
If the pain doesn’t ease after a few weeks, or if you symptoms are very severe then see your doctor and they can refer you for further treatments.
Please note that the team at Fight Quality have researched the causes and treatments of this injury, but the advice is not given by a qualified healthcare professional. If you are ever in doubt about the seriousness of an injury you should consult with a doctor or physiotherapist as they can do a full assessment of you as an individual and refer you for further diagnostics if needed.