Who hasn’t experienced that? All it takes is a sudden movement, an unusual movement or a repetitive gesture, and suddenly a violent pain. It’s probably a sign of tendonitis.
Photo Karolina Grabowska in Pexels
Why does tendinitis hurt so much?
“In fact, any tension in these cords, which connect the bone to the muscles, can trigger tendonitis,” explains Dr. Christophe Delong, a sports physician.
In response, the traumatized tendon begins to rub abnormally on the sheath in which it slides. It becomes irritated and inflamed.
But why does it hurt so much? “The tendons are formed by innumerable nerves, which transmit information about the position of the body. In this case, they conduct the pain,” the physician continues.
If the medications are the same regardless of the tendinitis, the care depends on the area affected.
Most of the time, tendinitis is due to an unusual strain: DIY, furniture movement, weight training or a bad fall that pulls on the tendons. The most affected: active women between 25 and 50 years old.
Where does it hurt? At the outer edge of the shoulder, below the deltoid, the muscle that covers the shoulder. For Thierry Marc, a physical therapist, it is in the vast majority of cases a “bursitis”: the synovial fluid enters the joint.
To do: stretch at home, 3 times a day. Put your hands together above your head, turn your wrists upwards and extend your arms, always with your fingers crossed, in an upright position. Hold it for 5 seconds and return to the initial position. Repeat the stretch.
Seek emergency medical attention if your shoulder hurts at night, which is a sign of worsening inflammation.
Don’t do it: extend your collarbones by tying your hands behind your back to stretch your arms. To avoid absolutely, contrary to what many gymnastics and aquagym teachers teach.
It occurs after a false movement or by a slight limp that overloads the tendons.
Where does it hurt? Outside the hip, in the back of the thigh. As a result, it hurts when you walk, when you stand, when you sit, when you climb stairs or when you get out of a car.
- use insoles prescribed by your doctor and custom-made by an orthopedist or podiatrist;
- to be assiduous in the care of the physical therapy, very important for the cure of this tendinitis.
Don’t do it: leave it around, or you’ll end up walking on crutches. “If nothing is done, the tendonitis descends to the outer face of the knee and gives an intolerable pain like sciatica. Sometimes they get confused,” warns Dr. Delong.
Tendinitis of the elbow
As its name suggests, tendinitis of the elbow or “tennis elbow” has long been the prerogative of tennis players (up to 40% of them affected) and pianists.
It is now becoming more prevalent in the general population due to computer work. It has become the “mouse disease”.
Where does it hurt? The pain is located on the outside of the elbow and projects to the wrist. Very disabling in everyday life, it makes it difficult to shake hands, open a jar, screw a lid on a jam jar… Grasping or squeezing becomes difficult.
Wearing an elbow support relieves pain, as long as it does not block movement or wear a rigid, less intrusive epicondyle band (or compression band) in front of the elbow.
if the tendinitis is due to working on a computer, check your position in front of the screen: the forefoot should be placed on the desk, the mouse on the hand extension, the elbow should remain close to the body.
Don’t do this: wear your arm in a sling, as this immobilizes the joint. A joint that does not move becomes stiff.
Tendinitis can be related to excessive sport, but also to inappropriate footwear.
Where does it hurt? Below the heel. After exercise or exertion, the pain may spread to the calf.
Drink plenty of water because the Achilles tendon is very sensitive to dehydration;
show your shoes to your doctor to see if they fit. You may recommend a silicone heel cup to absorb the impact. The orthopedist can also shape the insoles to elevate the heel, which corrects limping and relieves the joint.
Don’t do it: don’t consult and keep your high heels or sports shoes on. If you don’t take care of yourself, you risk a total rupture of the tendon.
3 questions for Dr. Christophe Delong, sports physician.
“What medications are typically prescribed for tendinitis?”
Cold is the best anti-inflammatory at the beginning of the crisis: apply ice for the first seven days to calm the pain (for 10 to 15 minutes 3 times a day), and then warm up the following week to avoid painful contractures.
Pain medications such as acetaminophen only provide short-term relief.
Local anti-inflammatories may be helpful (massage with a diclofenac-based cream), but do not use for more than 5 days. In oral form, they are not very effective in this indication.
Cortisone can be prescribed for infiltrations, that is, deep injections at the site of tendonitis. This medication is very active, but must be used with care.
The injections are always given next to the tendon, never directly into it, and under the guidance of ultrasound.
The side effects are well known: increased stress, increased blood sugar levels and, in the long term, weakening of the tendons that can lead to rupture.
In fact, there is a consensus: no more than three injections per year. To wit: infiltrations are not recommended for elbow tendinitis because they are not very effective.
“Do you need physical therapy? ” It is essential for healing. Deep manual massage and slow motion exercises will restore flexibility to the tendons. If pain persists, the physical therapist can perform shock wave or ultrasound sessions.
“As a last resort, for people whose symptoms have persisted for more than six months, we propose a surgical operation, the “combing” of the tendon: we open and make stretch marks in its fibers to force them to heal, and thus repair themselves.
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