Best Ways to Prevent and Treat Tendonitis
Tendons are rope-like connective tissues that hold your muscles to your bones. When muscles contract, the tendons pull the bones to move. While tendons are tough and flexible, tendonitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed and irritated, often as a result of overuse or injury. This can occur in people of all ages, though it is more common in athletes.
Tendonitis can last for a few days, or it can become a chronic condition that lasts for several weeks and even months. Don’t let tendonitis slow you down! With a few proactive measures, you can prevent and even treat tendonitis.
You can minimize your risk of experiencing tendonitis by taking these precautionary steps.
Warm up thoroughly before exercising. Dynamic stretches help reduce muscle stiffness, preparing the muscles and tendons for movement. Ease into your workout and gradually build workout intensity. When you’re finished, don’t forget to cool down and allow the muscles to relax again.
Build strength and flexibility. Whether you’re starting a new sport or are an experienced professional, you can always benefit from building muscle strength and flexibility. Tight, poorly conditioned muscle is more likely to experience injury.
Learn proper use and technique. No matter what activity or exercise you’re performing, it’s essential to practice good form to reduce unnecessary strain on the body. Hire a trainer, if necessary, to correct any bad habits.
Work out consistently. While you don’t want to over strain your muscles, it’s best to work out consistently to maintain optimum muscle performance and strength.
Wear the right gear. Achilles tendonitis is a form of tendonitis that typically occurs as a result of repeated running and jumping. This particular problem can often be traced back to poor-fitting shoes that dig into the Achilles tendon. Wearing the right gear is a great step to preventing injury.
Switch up your routine. If a specific exercise is causing you persistent pain, then switch up your routine. Working different muscles will give other muscles time to rest while still building strength.
Use a comfortable range of motion. If “no pain, no gain” is your motto, then stop! Working to the point of pain is not a good technique. Work with your body rather than against it to reduce risk of injury.
Practice good muscular control. Each movement should be carefully controlled. Don’t flop around or sacrifice good form in favour of heavier loads. Keep limbs in line with each other.
Do not put a static load on the stressed area. If you must lift heavy or work hard, then keep your body moving. The longer you let the weight strain the joint, the more injury you inflict.
Stay healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight makes your body more resilient. Good cardiovascular health and blood flow is crucial for healing.
Unfortunately, even the best steps to prevention can sometimes fail. Should you experience tendonitis, you can soothe the pain and soreness with the following.
Rest the tendon. The easiest way to treat tendonitis is to let the injured area rest. Overuse worsens the condition, while resting gives the body time to heal.
Apply ice packs to reduce swelling. More serious tendonitis pain may lead to swelling, leaving the area painful to the touch. Ice limits swelling and has a calming effect on the nerves.
Compress the sore joint. Compression limits swelling and offers mild pain relief. Don’t wrap the injury so tight that the area throbs, as this constricts blood flow.
Keep the injury elevated. Elevation is most useful when you can raise the injury above heart level. For example, if you are suffering Achilles tendonitis, prop the foot up on some pillows.
Take mild anti-inflammatory drugs. Also known as NSAIDs, painkillers such as ibuprofen offer short-term relief by reducing inflammation.
Many people find the acronym RICE helps them to remember proper treatment for common injuries: rest, ice, compress and elevate.
Occasionally tendonitis becomes too severe for at-home treatments to work well. If your symptoms worsen despite self-care or if you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s best to contact a medical professional for treatment and additional advice.
- Severe pain and swelling at or around the injury
- Fever following your injury
- Inability to move the joint near the injured tendon
- Numbness or loss of feeling below the injury
- Obvious deformity near the injury
Additionally if you are unsure of how severe your injury is, it’s best to consult a professional. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to cause further damage to your tendons.
If you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis or other foot pain, then stop by Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic. Our staff specializes in treating foot pain so you can get back on your feet – literally! New patients are welcome, so feel free to walk (or limp) into our office.