Feb 6, 2018

What Moms Should Know About Tendonitis

Brought to you by Vive Health 

As a mother, you are not new to joint aches and discomforts brought about by multitasking and juggling parenting, a job, and household chores every single day. However, if the pain is already persistent, you might need to take a closer look for it can already be an indication of tendonitis.

The word tendonitis, or tendinitis, gets thrown around frequently, but very few understand what it really is. Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon usually caused by repetitive motions and overuse. The tendons are connective tissues that attach muscles to the bones. Note, tendons and ligaments are two different kinds of connective tissues. A ligament connects bones together at a joint while a tendon connects muscles to a bone. Typically, these tissues are tough, flexible, and fibrous, and naturally designed to withstand tension.

The main function of the tendons is to work together with muscles to exert a pulling force. However, overuse, overload, and overexertion can take a toll on the tendons, thereby causing microtrauma and inflammation. Overuse refers to body movements that are repeated often while overload refers to an all too quick increase in the level of a particular activity. Overexertion, as the term suggests, is exerting the tendons to more than they can physically bear.

Types of Tendonitis

Elbow tendonitis

Also known as tennis elbow, this condition is characterized by pain shooting from the outer side of the elbow down through the wrist. Scientifically, it goes by the name lateral epicondylitis, which generally refers to the degeneration of the tendons’ attachment to both bone and muscle. It’s also known as tennis elbow because it’s a common condition among tennis players.

Achilles tendonitis

This type of tendonitis directly affects the Achilles tendon, which is touted as the largest tendon in the body. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone, helping you perform various day-to-day functions like walking, running, jumping, standing up on your toes, and climbing the stairs. Hence, you can just imagine how prone it is to overuse and potential degeneration.

Achilles tendonitis is often confused with plantar fasciitis, a condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia ligament in the foot (because both of them include heel pain).

Wrist Tendonitis

This condition is also known as De Quervain Syndrome and, traditionally, as the ‘washer woman’s syndrome’ because it is most common among people who do repetitive wrist motions like wringing wet clothes. It is more of a degenerative condition that involves inflammation since it’s borne out of repetitive strain or friction on the tendon.

Shoulder Tendonitis

Also known as a pitcher’s shoulder, this refers to the inflammation of the tendons in your biceps or rotator cuff. The symptoms of this particular tendonitis manifest over time. Any activity that keeps your shoulder in one position for long periods or requires constant lifting of your arms overhead can cause this condition.

Symptoms of Tendonitis to Watch out for

It’s important that you detect the signs of tendonitis early on in order to get help right away. The symptoms will likewise tell you whether you can still treat and manage the injury at home or it’s already time to consult your doctor.

Here are a few signs to watch out for:
  • Painless but restricted movements
  • Pain is unbearable during the night and the morning
  • Pain aggravated by movement
  • Pain accompanied by swelling and stiffness

Prevention and Management

They say that prevention is better than a cure and in the case of tendonitis, that age-old adage can never be truer. The treatment and management of tendonitis are geared towards relieving pain and minimizing inflammation.

  • As much as possible, avoid activities that require you to lift your hand over your head. In the same vein, try not to sleep on your shoulder every night.
  • To manage Achilles tendonitis, you can wear a sleeping boot to immobilize your foot such as a night splint. This method also works in treating plantar fasciitis pain.
  • Take breaks from your tasks, like typing, for instance, or other tasks requiring repetitive motion such as pulling weeds.
  • Avoid wearing high heels for this can shorten your Achilles tendon. If your work requires it, remove your high heels from time to time and do some foot stretching techniques to relax your feet.
  • To manage pain and swelling, apply an ice pack to the affected area and wrap it with an elastic bandage. You may also take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen.
  • Perform exercise programs specifically designed to improve the strength and flexibility of your tendons.

It’s vital that you give the affected area a much-needed rest. You might also need to change your routines. As a mom, taking care of your family must include practicing your own self-care.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: