man holding elbow in pain tendonitis

If you’ve trained hard for any length of time, you’ve probably felt pain around one of your joints.

In most cases, the pain isn’t significant, and it goes away relatively quickly. But sometimes, the discomfort grows, restricts movement, and might even swell up. 

The condition is called tendonitis and typically isn’t as bad as some people imagine. But you still have to take it seriously and approach it with the right tactics.

What Are Tendons And Tendonitis?
Tendons are thick cords of connective tissue that link muscle to bone and allow our skeletal muscles to produce movement. A tendon is made of resilient and elastic material.

Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, refers to inflammation or irritation of a tendon. The condition is typically characterised by tenderness, pain, and restricted motion.

All tendons in the body are prone to inflammation, but the condition typically revolves around our shoulders, elbows, and knees.

What Causes Tendonitis?
Tendonitis typically occurs in one of two ways:

  • Acutely, due to a sudden movement that damages the tendon. For example, suffering a fall while playing sports.
  • Cumulatively, due to repetitive motion. For instance, doing manual labor or repeating an action, such as striking a golf ball.

In the context of weight training, tendonitis might occur because:

  • A trainee does the same exercise too frequently
  • A trainee loses control of a weight, which damages a tendon

How to Train If You Suffer From Tendonitis?
Like most injuries, tendonitis can vary in severity. Plus, since tendonitis can occur in different parts of the body, no single training approach will work for everyone.

The most important thing to remember is that you have to give the irritated tendon time to recover. If you keep adding training stress, the condition will worsen and prolong your recovery time.

For example, if you suffer from tendonitis in a shoulder or elbow, you can keep training your lower body, but you have to avoid exercises that stress the affected area.

If you’re dealing with tendonitis in your elbow, avoid movements like the deadlift, back squat, and front squat. These exercises involve your elbows, and that stress can worsen the problem. Instead, do leg press, leg extension, hamstring curl, glute-ham raise, nordic curl, calf raises, and similar.

In any case, use your best judgment and make strategic choices to avoid stressing the injured area.

What’s The Best Rehab Approach For Tendonitis?
The best way to rehab tendonitis is to give the tissue enough time to rest. Unlike muscles, our tendons don’t receive as much blood, which prevents oxygen and other nutrients from making their way as quickly. Still, the body knows how to repair itself, so long as we give it the time.

Light movement can also help promote blood flow to the affected tendon, but you should stop immediately if the pain or swelling worsen. Pushing through pain will only exacerbate the situation and possibly lead to tendonosis.

Staying hydrated, sleeping enough, eating plenty of protein are also good ways to support your body’s recovery. You can also consider a collagen supplement, which might speed up the recovery process a bit.

November 01, 2021 — Daniel Felstein

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