Tendonitis is a common sports injury. Usually the result of overuse, or
repetitive motion activities, it can severely affect sports
performance, and can be a frustrating chronic injury. Understanding
what causes this injury, as well as ways to treat and prevent it can
help keep you off the sidelines.
What is a Tendon?
Tendons are connective tissue that connects muscles to bones. As
connective tissue, tendons do not have elastic qualities.
other words, they do not readily stretch. They also have no contractile
properties, meaning they do not change in length when muscles contract.
Most tendons are comprised of several layers of tissue, enclosed within
a tendon sheath. The tendon glides within the sheath as muscles
contract and joints move through a range of motion.
What is Tendonitis?
It is an
irritation of the tendon, its sheath, or the connection of the tendon
to the bone. It is usually caused by overuse or repetitive activities
that place more stress on the tendon than it can handle. As stresses
increase, the tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. As with any type
of inflammation, there may be swelling and pain, often increasing with
Where Does It Occur?
Two of the most common areas affected are the patellar tendon and the
rotator cuff tendons. The patellar tendon
attaches the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg, and is common with
sports that involve running and jumping. The rotator cuff muscles
all attach through tendons to the head of the humerus, or upper arm
bone. Rotator cuff tendonitis is very common with sports that involve
overhead throwing or repetitive overhead motions.
Other common areas affected include the Illiotibial
Band, the peroneal tendons, the quadriceps tendon, and the biceps
It occurs because of stress on the tendons. There are several ways to
work to prevent this stress. Improving flexibility
is one way to help. When muscles are tight, they place more stress on
the tendons as they contract and move the joint through a range of
motion. By increasing flexibility through stretching, the overall
tension on the tendon is reduced, thus reducing the stress placed on
the tendon during activities. Less stress equals less irritation.
Gradually increasing activities is also important. It is common at the
beginning of the season, or when starting a new activity, especially
when you jump right in. Gradually increasing your overall activity
gives the muscles and tendons time to accommodate to the new
activities, and can help reduce the initial "shock" of the activities.
This also helps to prevent overuse type injuries. A good plan for
increasing activities is to spend the first 2-3 weeks working up to
your final intensity.
As with most sports injuries, tendonitis involves inflammation. If you
are suffering from this injury, there are several things you can do to
decrease your pain and discomfort, and to help resolve the problem.
Ice is one of the best things you can do for treatment. Applying ice
to the area of injury helps to decrease the inflammation, as well as
reducing your pain. Think of the inflammation as a fire, and the ice is
there to help put out that fire. Ice immediately after activities, for
can also help to reduce the discomfort. As mentioned above, improving
flexibility can reduce the stresses on the tendons. Proper stretching
before activity, along with a good warm up, can improve the overall
performance of the muscles and tendons by preparing them for activity.
Rest from aggravating activities may be necessary,
depending on how
severe your pain and discomfort is. If are having pain that last after
your sports activity is finished, then you are probably in need of
rest. Limiting activity helps to decrease the stress on the tendons,
allowing for time to heal.
In addition to ice and stretching,
anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can often help decrease
pain and discomfort.
can be a frustrating sports injury, however, there are ways to prevent
and treat tendonitis. A proper flexibility routine, an adequate warm
up, and gradually increasing exercise can help prevent this common
injury, and keep you in the game.
Didn't find what you were looking for? Search SII for more information...
Running Pain Solutions
The key to getting rid of minor aches before they become major pains is a simple, total body prevention program.
Written for Runners by a runner, you'll learn a holistic approach to improving mobility, restoring normal movement and muscle activation patterns, and restoring the body and mind connection.
This Kindle Book contains a step by step program to keep you running pain free. Included are detailed instructions and illustrations for exercises to improve mobility, balance,
neuromuscular control, strength and endurance. Only $7.49!
Get Your Copy Today!