What is Tendonitis and What are the Symptoms? November 20 2017
Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon, most commonly due to overuse of that particular tendon. Tendonitis can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects to a muscle, but some of the most common places include the base of the thumb, elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, forearms, feet and hands. Repetitive, minor impacts over a long period of time on the affected area can cause tendonitis. Incorrect posture or poor stretching before exercise can also increase your risk.
Tenosynovitis (tendonitis of the wrist) is the leading cause of discomfort among daily office workers. Epicondylitis (tendonitis of the elbow) or “tennis elbow” comes in second.
Many doctors know that people who spend their days typing are prone to these conditions, but many people don’t even realize they have them. It’s important to know what the symptoms are and whether you find yourself suffering from them over time so that you can either treat it or prevent it.
- Pain – Generally, pain only occurs in the early stages when pressure is applied to the tendon in question. Over time, however, pain may develop into a constant and nagging sensation, even at rest. Some people have also reported a “burning” sensation around the tendons.
- Restricted Movement – Stiff or progressively worse restriction of movement around the tendon is very common. If you believe you may have tendonitis of the wrist, for example, you may not be able to bend your wrist all the way.
- Swelling – Inflammation of the tends will become apparent when they begin to turn red and swollen. The accumulation of fluid and inflamed tissue may result in the area feeling warm.
If you do notice the early stages of symptoms, working on prevention methods can help either alleviate the symptoms or stop them altogether.
- Take frequent breaks – Taking breaks is a common ergonomic piece of advice across the board. If you’re typing for 8 hours a day, take short breaks every hour.
- Brace the area – Wearing a brace on your wrist or elbow can help prevent tendonitis.
- Stretch at the end of your work day – Just as you would stretch after exercising, stretch your wrists and elbows at the end of a long work day.
If you’ve noticed experiencing middle stages of symptoms, you should consider seeing your doctor. Home remedies may provide some symptom relief, but only a doctor is qualified to diagnose and treat your ailment.
Try these ways to address symptoms of tendonitis at home:
- Rest – Give the tendons causing you discomfort a break. The recommended length for resting the tendon is dependent on the severity of your case, but 2 weeks is usually a good rule of thumb.
- Exercise – Work out the muscles around your tendons. When you reintroduce movement to the affected area, you can “wake up” your muscles.
- Stretch – CAREFULLY! If you’ve rested the tendon for several weeks, it is possible they will not be as limber as before.
- Brace – There are braces available that are specifically designed to restrict the movement in the areas affected to stabilize a healthy position for your wrist and elbow.
- Use – A topical anti-inflammatory medication may relive pain by dilating the blood vessels and promoting blood flow.
Tendonitis is one of the leading Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) in America, but there are steps you can take to help prevent or treat your symptoms. Using the correct ergonomic equipment in your office is also a great way to prevent RSIs. Check out our wrist rests for keyboards here.