You can prevent tendonitis by learning about the bad habits that cause the condition and taking steps to avoid them. And if you want to stay active, prevention is the way to go. Here’s why.
Once you have tendonitis, it can take more than six weeks to heal. Ongoing tendonitis leads to scarring or narrowing of the tendon sheath that limits joint movement. In the worst case, ongoing inflammation causes a tendon rupture.
At Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center, our rheumatologist Behnam Khaleghi, MD, offers advanced treatments such as regenerative medicine that can help your tendons heal. But we would rather help you avoid the problem by telling you about the habits that cause tendonitis.
When a tendon becomes inflamed, you have tendonitis. As you might imagine, tendonitis is painful. The condition also causes swelling, stiffness, and limited movement in the affected area.
Tendons connect muscles to bones, where they bear the significant stress of moving your body. These strong, thick cords of tissue take the force produced by muscle contractions and transmit that energy to a bone, which makes the bone move.
Tendonitis often affects the tendons attached to your heels, knees, shoulders, elbows, and hips. You may know these conditions by their common names, such as Achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, and jumper’s knee, to name a few.
Before getting into bad habits, let’s get to the heart of the matter and talk about what causes tendonitis. Once you know the cause, you can recognize the activities that contribute to the problem.
Tendonitis develops due to:
- Tendon strain
- Repetitive movement
- Excessive training
- Suddenly increasing the duration of your exercise
- Suddenly increasing the intensity of your training
- Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis
Of all the causes, the most common is repetitive movement that results in an overuse injury. In this case, tendonitis begins when repetitive movement causes tiny tears in the tendon.
When you rest between repetitive activities, the tendons have time to heal. If the tendon doesn’t heal, however, inflammation develops. Ongoing inflammation weakens the tendon, resulting in more pain and ultimately causing a tendon rupture.
Bad habits that contribute to tendonitis
Based on the causes, you can probably start to think of the habits you follow that could cause tendonitis.
These are the top habits that lead to tendon problems:
Discounting the importance of rest
Nothing is more important than giving your tendons time to rest between repetitive activities. You may need to rotate your training so you don’t exercise the same group of tendons every day. Or if your repetitive movement occurs at work, you may need to take short breaks throughout the day.
Forgetting to stretch
Maybe you’re short on time and need to get through your workout quickly, so you skip the extra time to stretch. Or you might think that you’re in great shape and don’t need to stretch.
But if you don’t routinely stretch your muscles, you’re more likely to end up with tendonitis, because tight muscles put more stress on their tendons.
Following improper technique
Whether you play sports or your job requires repetitive movement, using the proper technique is essential if you want to avoid tendonitis.
Pushing through the pain
Sometimes pushing through the pain is a good step to take because it strengthens your muscles. But when you have inflamed tendons, the last thing you want to do is push through the pain. That will only worsen the condition.
Warming up gently prepares your muscles and tendons for the work to come. Suddenly requiring your tendons to respond to running, jumping, swimming, and other movements that force your joints to move is a recipe for excessive stress, micro-injuries, and inflammation.
Sticking with one activity
If you do nothing but play one sport all year round, you’re more likely to put too much stress on your tendons. Cross-training helps by varying your impact-loading exercises.
Using bad body posture
You may already know about ergonomics, which refers to the way you hold your body while engaged in repetitive activities at work, school, and home. Following good ergonomics goes a long way toward preventing tendonitis.
By comparison, poor ergonomics leads to tendonitis and a range of subsequent injuries. For example, bending your wrist while using a keyboard stresses the tendons and causes tendonitis. Tendonitis then leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have ongoing pain or need help healing from tendonitis, call us at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center or book an appointment online. We have offices in Orange and Laguna Hills, California.