Tennis elbow, quarterback shoulder, golfer’s elbow, tendinitis of the wrist and jumper’s knee are a few examples of forms of tendinitis, a painful, but easily preventable injury.
Causes of Tendinitis
- Repetitive strain on the tendon: Repetitive strain is the most common cause of tendinitis. This is when the same motion is performed repeatedly and typically with a lot of force.
- Age: Tendons gradually lose their elasticity with age; anyone over the age of 40 is more susceptible to stress and tearing as the tendons start to become less pliant. With less elasticity in the tendon and less flexibility in the muscle, the tendon may not move as freely, increasing the susceptibility to strain.
- Stressing the tendon: Lifting a heavy load or repeatedly putting the tendon under strain often leads to tendinitis. This type of activity should be performed with caution, as momentum combined with a heavy load can easily result in overstretching the range of motion and stressing or even tearing tendons.
6 Tips for Tendinitis Prevention
- Gently stretch: Gently stretch muscles and tendons prior to activity and exercise. A tight muscle will naturally exert more pull on the tendon. Stretch again following a strenuous activity or exercise. Also implementing mind-body modalities such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, among others, can help keep injuries to a minimum.
- Warm up: Always warm up before beginning an activity, particularly a strenuous activity. An easily adopted rule is to warm up 5 minutes for 30 minutes of activity; lightly exercising the arms, legs and torso. Lift light loads to warm up before attempting heavier ones. Putting stress on the tendons and joints without warming up first will aggravate the tendons and quickly lead to tendinitis.
- Take it slow: If you plan on intensifying your activity level or you’ve been less active for a long period, gradually build up your activity level and ease into the increase. Steadily build up strength and endurance.
- Limit repetitions: Take breaks in between or completely avoid overtly repetitive strenuous activities.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Keep moving; an active lifestyle can improve muscle and tendon health, but make sure to maintain proper form and technique so as not to injure yourself. Be aware of your diet; tailor it to ensure to get all your essential nutrients, rest, and water to keep your body healthy and happy.
- Be mindful and don’t ignore pain: There is a difference between the ache of building muscle and the pain of an injured tendon. When you feel pain in your tendons or joints this may be a sign that they are under a lot of pressure. Take a break or stop that activity completely. Don’t push through pain.