Is It Really Tendonitis?
Tendonitis can and does affect joints of the body shoulder, elbows, or knees. The complex joints of our bodies have ligament, bursa sacs and cartilage all which can have damage.
Ligament Injuries vs Tendonitis
Ligaments are fibrous bands of tissue that connect the end of 1 bone to another. Ligaments are usually only found around major joints in the body, with the hand and foot containing the most number of ligaments. If you have a ligament injury you'll usually feel pain in the injured area as well as swelling and inflammation. If you have injured a major ligament in a joint then you may also feel instability in that joint as one of the major ligaments connecting your bones together is injured or ruptured.
Immediate ligament injury treatment usually consists of icing the area for the first 48 hours, gently returning to activity after a few days and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (reference: 1).
Cyst vs Tendonitis
A ganglion cyst or synovial cyst can occur in any joint in the body. They appear under the skin as a lump or bump (non-cancerous) and may sometimes present no other symptoms. The cyst is basically a soft sac filled with a thick, clear fluid. It's still unknown why cysts form so close to a joint or tendon.
They may or may not become painful (in a lot of cases they're harmless), will limit your activity and could possibly grow larger if you continue the activity that caused this injury in the first place. Usually cysts only become really painful if the cyst is pressing down on any nerves in the affected area. If this is the case, then you may suffer from pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
If you don't have a lot of pain then you may only need to treat the symptoms of your cyst and wait for the cyst to naturally go away on its' own. Cysts most commonly show up in the wrist, hand, ankle, feet and near other joints (ie. the back of the knee - a baker's cyst).
Bursitis vs Tendonitis
Bursae (plural for bursa) are flattened fluid-filled sacs that function as cushions between your bones and muscles (deep bursae) or bones and tendons (superficial bursae). They reduce friction and allow the surface of your soft tissue to slide over bone effortlessly. When pressure or friction is too great, excess fluid can build up in the bursa sac causing inflammation. When a bursa becomes inflamed, moving the affected area becomes very painful and movement can be difficult. Any actions that put pressure on the inflamed bursa can increase irritation and cause further inflammation and pain.
Calcific Tendinitis vs Tendonitis
Calcific Tendonitis is caused by a chemical reaction with other tissues in the body - resulting in calcium that builds-up in the tendons. This is a more common condition with women between the ages of 30 and 50. This is not a sport / activity related injury.
Calcific Tendonitis is known to be a natural process than can occur in some people and not in others. The shoulder and rotator cuff are the typical location of calcific tendinitis, but it can also occur in the elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, or feet. In some cases this injury can also be called calcific tendinopathy. With this condition you may experience pain and stiffness that often comes back. Calcific tendonitis usually only lasts for one to two months.
Arthritis vs Tendonitis
Arthritis is a condition that can affect the tissue lining in joints (this lining is called the 'synovium'). You may suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is an autoimmune disease, or osteoarthritis (OA) which is a degenerative condition from wear and tear. When experiencing arthritis in general, inflammation from arthritis causes redness, heat, pain and swelling. Symptoms start with feeling pain and stiffness in the joint, reduced joint mobility, and swelling. It's possible for arthritis to cause tendonitis, with severe swelling in the joint arthritis can cause weakening in tendon tissue resulting in a strain or rupture.
Autoimmune Diseases vs Tendonitis
Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body, including the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain, and swelling. If the disease affects the joints, as with arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), you might have joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function.
How Can I Prevent Tendonitis?
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by decreasing your weight, if you are overweight.
- Warm-up all the tendons you plan on exercising by stretching. Incorporate 5 minutes warm-up for every 30 minutes of planned exercise.
- If there is little to no inflammation, talk with your physician about using a deep heat device like the T•Shellz Wrap® before activity.
- Cool-down thoroughly, with stretches in your exercise routine.
- Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack to immediately treat any post-workout swelling, inflammation and/or pain.
- Slowly build the intensity level of your workout. This is important because sometimes people can be over ambitious to lose weight or get that competitive edge in their sport.
- Train for a new sport before you start playing. Start building strength and flexibility in the muscles you will use a few weeks or months in advance.
- Learn the proper technique and use the proper equipment for any exercise or activity.
- Work out consistently, not just once a week.
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Learn More About Tendon Injuries & Treatments
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. Always consult your doctor and/or Physical Therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they are right for you and your condition. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!