All work and no play is a schedule that most wouldn’t want to subscribe to; after all, a healthy work-life balance can be beneficial. However, sometimes our lifestyle choices (our occupation or favorite pastime), can be the cause of injuries that keep us out of commission. According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70,000 people miss work every year due to tendonitis.1 It occurs when the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone become inflamed, irritated, swollen, or tender.2 The shoulders, wrists, elbows, knees, and heels are targets for this condition, which is typically brought on by repetitive motions or overuse.
Synovium, which produces lubricating synovial fluid, acts as a “cloak of invisibility” for tendons making them less prone to injury and reducing inflammation. Chronic tenosynovitis (a swelling of this sheath) often coincides with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory disorder. In some cases, it can result in permanent damage such as joint deformities.3
Those with careers that involve repetitive moments round the clock – dentists, hairdressers, and carpenters, can develop tendon sheath inflammation. If you suffer from tendonitis, try to make your workspace as ergonomic as possible; poor posture can contribute to the development of tendonitis. If you need help standing or sitting tall, invest in a great chair and a posture corrector. Those that work on their feet will want to invest in comfortable shoes. According to Healthline, employees who perform tasks such as weeding, typing, and assembly-line work are also particularly vulnerable to tendonitis.
We’ve all seen that person who signs up for the advanced Yoga class without taking the “prerequisites” – or the member at the gym deadlifting far more than they should for their body weight. If the goal is intensifying your workout regimen, do it gradually. Set goals for yourself and rev up the intensity each week.4 Training for that 10k can take a toll on the body, but prolonged running excursion can end up being your “Achilles Heel” – literally.5
What starts as a dull stiffness may turn into sharp, shooting pain. Achilles Tendonitis is responsible for 15% of all running injuries.6
Sports that require repetitive jumping and swinging, such as basketball, baseball, golf, and tennis, are common causes of tendonitis. Your physician may recommend that you take a temporary hiatus from these types of activities until the inflammation subsides. While you’re recuperating, a bandage, brace, or splint will be helpful for reducing movement. Select a physical therapist who will be a knowledgeable resource, and teach you specific exercises to strengthen the affected muscles and tendons.8
There’s no denying that the body weakens as we age. According to Cleveland Clinic, adults age 40 years and older are more prone to having tendonitis.7 This is because aging tendons experience a reduction in elasticity, and can no longer endure the stressors they once could.
Whatever the reason for your tendonitis pain, it’s important to visit a physician to discuss the best course of treatment. Tendon irritation that isn’t addressed may lead to tendinosis – which is marked by irreparable degenerative changes in the tendon.
Don’t let tendonitis reduce your quality of life. The physicians at Watauga Orthopaedics have the expertise and training to put you back at the peak of health. Their facility even offers on-site urgent care (for when pain strikes at inopportune times). For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (423) 282-9011.