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What's the Deal with: Tendonitis?

What's the Deal with: Tendonitis?

Injuries are a serious bummer, especially when they prevent you from doing the things you love. One common injury is tendonitis, and I bet you already figured out that it involves your tendons, which you remember are those tough, yet flexible bands of tissue connecting muscles to bones. When a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, that's tendonitis (or sometimes spelled tendinitis).

Symptoms include: tenderness, pain and stiffness in the area, possibly a burning sensation, as well as pain after activities that aggravate the inflamed tendon. There may even be swelling or redness. Tendonitis usually occurs at the thumb, elbow, shoulder, knee, heel (you know Achilles tendonitis) and wrist, but can occur anywhere there is a tendon. Dancers can even experience the injury in their hips.

The most common cause of tendonitis is not surprisingly over-use. Suddenly increasing your level of exercise or learning something new (like playing an instrument) can put strain on and aggravate a tendon. Another major cause of this inflammatory condition is repetitive motions, like clicking a mouse or knitting. You know I preach moderation, and tendonitis is just another reason why moderation is a key component to keeping your body happy.

If you want to know how you can you tell if you have it, then

Tendonitis can be tricky to diagnosis since symptoms are similar to arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome. Talking to your doctor about what your pain feels like, and what causes pain, may help to figure out if you have tendonitis or something else.

Your doctor may recommend getting an X-ray, so he or she can rule out other conditions such as a muscle tear, or a bone fracture. An MRI may also be helpful to look at the soft tissue in that area.

Fit's Tips: If you do have tendonitis, you want to do all you can to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Icing the area helps to reduce swelling and tenderness. I like to fill a bag with a little water and alot of ice, so the cold can distribute evenly over the area.

Rest and immobilization of the affected area is helpful. If you've figured out that certain activity or repetitive motion is causing your tendonitis, as difficult as it may be, you need to give yourself a break from it.

Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help to reduce the swelling. Also, physical therapy that stretches and strengthens the muscle and tendon is essential. This can restore the tendon's ability to function properly, improve healing, and prevent future injury.


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