If you have ever had tendinitis then you know how frustrating and painful this injury can be. I myself have tendinitis in my knee and have had it for quite some time. Although in that time, I have learned how to deal with it, recover, and strengthen my knee. I have adopted specific short term and long term strategies that have helped me outgrow this painful and annoying setback.
First and foremost, I am not a doctor. Nor do I play one on the internet. So if your tendinitis is extremely painful, it always helps to go to your doctor for their opinion. However, I will share my opinion with you and my history with tendinitis and what has worked for me.
Tendinitis is caused by inflammation. In my case, I get inflammation in my knee. This inflammation is a painful feeling. It’s a dull and consistent pain that inhibits me from using that knee. It makes my knee feel week and immobile. The cause of this inflammation can come from a variety of sources. It can be caused by overuse. It can be caused by overexerting your knee. It can be caused from a lack of flexibility. It can be caused by a physical deformity of the joint. It can even be caused by bad genetics and a family history of chronic inflammation. If possible, try to pinpoint specific movements or actions that tend to cause pain either suddenly or the next day for you. This is the first step to recovery.
After you figure out what is causing you the discomfort, the absolute next thing for you to do is to stop that activity for the foreseeable future. If you can’t pinpoint what is causing the pain, then simply stop all joint intensive activities. The first step is REST. Allow your joint to heal and the inflammation and pain to go away. If running irritates your joint, then stop running. Take a week or so off completely. For some active people, this will seem like a burden. And that’s because it is! You are injured and you need to heal. There’s no point in continuing an exercise or activity if it keeps causing your pain. So first step is stop and rest.
The next step is to ice the area that’s causing your discomfort. Icing helps stop inflammation which is what we want. The rule of thumb is usually 20 minutes on followed by 20 minutes off followed by 20 minutes on again. Do this 1-3 times a day or when you feel as needed. If you do happen to do any activity where the tendinitis is aggravated, then make sure you do your icing as soon as possible after the activity.
Another step that is helpful is to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug. My preference is Alieve. However, ibuprofen also works well for this.
As far as short term strategies, this is it. Rest and getting the inflammation down is the name of game in the short term. Now let’s talk long term.
After a couple weeks of resting, you may want to reengage some physical activity to the area of concern. Remember to take it very slow. When I mean activity, I don’t mean jump right into your old routine of things. The first activity that you’ll want to engage in is stretching. Stretching the muscles around the joint is important to treat tendinitis. Flexibility is super important and there are too many of us that neglect this step. For me and my knee, it’s important to stretch my quads and hamstrings. This will help reduce inflammation and reduce the chance of inflammation acting up again. Although relief may not be sudden, keep on a daily stretch routine to build flexibility over time. This will help you prevent any tendinitis flare ups in the future.
Once you feel comfortable with your flexibility and your pain has either gone down or gone away, then try to incorporate resistance training. Building up the muscles around the problematic joint can help you reduce the severity and/or occurrence of tendinitis. Be sure to stretch and ice after every exercise. This will help make sure all your bases are covered.
Tendinitis isn’t fun. And to make matters worse, treatment and recovery can be a long and dreadful road. But if done right, you can get back to your old routines rather quickly. Following this protocol will ensure that you not only recover quickly, but reduce the chances of tendinitis from coming back again. With tendinitis, nothing is ever sure proof. So if it does happen to come back, now you know the protocol to take for recovery.