As the fall sports season kicks off, athletes may find that their sudden return to play takes a toll on tender tendons. Tendons are tough bands of connective tissue which attach to the bone. They are the strong, tough cords which may be felt in various areas of the body (wrist, ankle, knee). Tendonitis is often described as an inflammation of the tendon or at the tendon sheath (connective tissue which surrounds the tendon).
Signs of Inflammation
- loss of function
Areas Most Affected
- tendons around the elbow (tennis elbow)
- tendons of the knee (jumper’s knee)
- tendons about the shoulder and ankle (Achilles tendon)
These inflamed areas may have symptoms of pain with movement, swelling and crepitus (a crackling sound produced with movement). Tendonitis is generally considered an overuse type of injury. These injuries occur often during early sports season training or following a dramatic increase of activity level. This inflammatory condition occurs because development of the underlying muscle and tendon unit has not kept pace with the more strenuous training program.
- oral anti-inflammatory agent (aspirin/ibuprofen)
- rest of the injured tendon
- cold, ice massage or ice bags during post-exercise periods
- five to seven days later, heat applications prior to exercise and ice/cold treatments following exercise
A gradual return to full activity is always a good measure to follow. Upon return to activity, continue to apply heat to the affected area prior to exercise–apply ice after exercise.
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