If you find yourself with aching pain when you move your shoulder, elbow, hand, or wrist, it could be tendonitis. This painful problem develops when a tendon — which connects muscle to bone — becomes irritated or inflamed. This issue causes more than 70,000 people to miss work each year.
Fortunately, many types of tendonitis respond to conservative interventions. And, if worse comes to worse, minimally invasive surgery can repair severe issues. However, if you take the right steps early on, you can reduce your risk of having a problem at all.
Thomas F. Saylor, MD, diagnoses and treats tendonitis at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida. If you want to protect your tendons, he recommends avoiding these five habits that can lead to tendonitis.
In most cases, tendonitis develops from overuse, strain, or repetitive motion. However, not moving your body can also be equally risky for your tendons, especially as you age.
Inactivity is very hard on the body, and it can lead to the deterioration of many functions, which is a problem known as disuse syndrome. To make matters worse, tendons also become less flexible with age, leaving them more vulnerable to injury and tendonitis after turning age 40.
If you want to protect your tendons, ligaments, and muscles and keep them in prime condition, it’s crucial to remain physically active. Dr. Saylor recommends adding muscle strengthening exercises to your regimen and stretching regularly to maintain and maximize the range of motion within your joints.
While exercise and physical activity plays a critical role in keeping your body strong and healthy, more isn’t necessarily better.
Putting too much stress on your tendons is a surefire way of causing injury, so you should take precautions when exercising and training. For example, start training for a few weeks or months in advance when taking on a new sport. This can give you a chance to build flexibility and strength in the muscles you use for the new activity.
Similarly, avoid “weekend warrior” practices, which often lead to tendonitis — especially if you’re out of shape. Taking time to properly prepare your body can improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.
It can be hard starting off slowly, especially if you’re doing something you enjoy, such as a favorite hobby or sport. However, whether you’re heading out on a walk, to the golf course, or tackling a pile of leaves in the yard, don’t forget to warm up your body before you get to work.
A warm-up takes as little as 5-10 minutes, but it prepares your muscles for the task. The easiest way to add this step is to start doing your activity at a slower pace. For example, if you’re getting ready for a brisk walk or run, spend your warm-up walking at a slower pace, then gradually increase your intensity.
And, remember, once you finish moving your body, spend some time cooling down.
Whether you’re working, enjoying your favorite hobby, or breaking a sweat, it’s essential to practice good form and body mechanics. It can be easy to forget body mechanics, especially if you’re busy, starting a new activity, or out of shape. However, no matter what’s impacting your technique, you could be setting yourself up for repetitive stress injuries and tendonitis.
To avoid these mishaps, Dr. Saylor suggests taking professional instructions or lessons when starting a new exercise program, sport, or hobby. It’s also important to evaluate workplace ergonomics and body mechanics to avoid excess stress on the body.
Learning the proper techniques and body positions for all your favorite activities can keep you pain-free for the years to come.
Finally, whenever possible, take plenty of breaks and mix it up, especially when performing repetitive tasks or any activities that put excessive stress on the tendons. And, stop and rest immediately if you have any pain. Remember, tendonitis and pain are your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem.
For the best results, don’t stay in the same position for long periods. Instead, take a break every 30 minutes and do some light stretching. Similarly, if you spend a lot of time doing one activity or exercise, try adding some new ones to the mix. Not only can this add variety to your routine, but it can also reduce strain on your body.
Last but not least, if you have tendonitis, don’t ignore it. Dr. Saylor can create a personalized treatment strategy to ease your discomfort and help you get well.
To learn more about tendonitis and your treatment options, call 561-292-0148 or book an appointment online with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.