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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.


Join The Conversation
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
Cortisone shots do provide relief, but they eventually cause MASSIVE scarring which makes the condition worse!
suzanne suzanne 10 years
I have a "trigger finger" which is a cousin to carpal tunnel syndrome. My middle finger will lock in a curled up position. So weird! Cortisone injections do hurt like crazy, :CRY: but once it's in I get total relief for a year or 2. I do worry about scar tissue, but I've had surgery for the carpal tunnel and lost a bit or range of motion to the fingers of one hand.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
i forgot about the immobilization thing. I wore splints on both of my wrists for a long time in fact, b-ball was just a flare up in my wrists, i just remembered when I was 11 i got it for whatever reason, in both wrists, and wore braces on both.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
Tendonitis is horrible. I had it in my feet while I was seriously training as a ballet dancer and then after I quit dancing, I got it in my wrists while preparing for piano competitions, so I think that overuse was definitely the cause in both cases. Although I didn't get cortizone shots, the only thing that helped me heal was completely immobilizing the area when I wasn't dancing/performing by wearing a brace, which was horribly inconvenient and not attractive! Icing helped a lot - I heard that acupuncture works quite well and I almost went that route but ended up not doing it in the end.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
you can also get cortizone shots. I hate tendonitis in my wrists, heel, and just below the ball of my foot, directly under my big toe. i got cortizone shots in my heels only because they hurt so bad with it, i couldn't change what was casuing the pain-she tried to give me a cortizone shot in the other part of my foot i told you about...but i couldn't stand the pain long enough for her to inject thef ull contents of the needle. now they only get inflamed if I am on my feet all day, or for more than 2 or 3 hours straight. they turn real red, get a little swollen and stiff. I got it in my wrists from basketball in highschool.
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