How to Treat Tendonitis

Susan Hoff
January 30, 2022

Don't push through the pain. Your body is asking for help.

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Many athletes push themselves too far too fast in the beginning of their fitness journeys. When your body is not quite ready for the amount of weight you decide to lift or distance you want to run, your muscles and tendons will act up and complain. They are screaming at you to slow down and give them a little rest. If you listen, you're smart. If you don't listen and "push through the pain," you are not alone.

Tendonitis often occurs from the overuse of a joint and can appear in your elbows, knees, shoulders, and wrists. Many of these pain points have been given names that coincide with a certain sport. Tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, jumper's knee, swimmer's shoulder, etc. This is because many athletes practice repetitive movements that exacerbate the joint in question.  

Below are a few tips for addressing first time and chronic tendonitis.

First-Time Pain:

You do not have to be involved in any of the above sports to incur tendonitis. You just have to put too much stress on a joint and overload it with constant use or heavy weights. If you feel a dull, aching pain around a joint when performing a certain exercise, stop and listen to your body. Even if your brain says it's not that bad, your body has something else to say. Any pain like this is worth listening to so that it doesn't turn chronic. Your doctor may recommend the RICE method for quickly alleviating the pain in your joint.

The RICE Method:

Rest: Rest the area as soon as you start feeling pain.

Ice: Ice will reduce inflammation.

Compression: Use a brace or bandage to reduce soreness and inflammation. Seeing the brace will also help remind you not to overdo it.

Elevation: Keep the joint elevated to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Returning to the Gym:

1. Once you are ready to return to the gym, start exercising the muscles around your joint. Strengthening these periphery muscles will remove the strain from your joint when you start performing full exercises again.

2. Make sure that you are warmed up before performing heavy or big movements.

3. Work your way back slowly and lessen the intensity or duration of your routine.

4. After you finish your workout, stretch out your muscles again to reduce post-exercise soreness and inflammation.

5. If you feel the pain arise, stop immediately. It is not something you should be pushing yourself through.

Chronic Pain:

If you didn't listen to the warning signs and have waved off the pop-up pains, you probably have now entered into chronic pain. It's time to take extra precaution and finally do something about your overworked tendons.

I recommend seeing a physical therapist who can diagnose the issue and send you on your away after a few visits of treatment. You do not want to go on living with tendonitis and just dealing with it if you plan to continue working out. You will only cause more damage, which could eventually lead you down the path towards surgery.

Most likely, tendonitis won't require surgery, but if you want to lift heavy and lift often like you have been doing, then get yourself into a physical therapist! It's the speediest way to get you back in the gym and they can give you exercises that you can perform in the meantime that won't exacerbate the problem.

Oath & Grind By Susan Hoff
Run fast, spin hard, lift heavy, work out like crazy. Whatever you do, Oath & Grind is the destination for all things fitness, nutrition, and life.
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