Tendinitis is the inflammation of, as the name suggests, a tendon. Tendons are connective tissue linking the muscle to the bone, found near or around the different joints. Areas more susceptible to tendinitis include the upper shoulder and elbow, but, as tendinitis is considered an overuse injury, its position highly depends on what type of movements and activities an individual has been doing.
There are various possible causes and risk factors linked to tendinitis. The two main causes often attributed to tendinitis are repetitive low impact movements and sudden injury, both stemming from the excessive use of the joint around which the tendon is situated. Tennis elbow, golfers elbow, quarterback shoulder and jumpers knee are all forms of tendinitis named so because they commonly occur in individuals who do these activities.
Although tendinitis is often reported alongside examples of athletic risks and injuries, it can also result from other more daily activities and habits: possibly bad posture, which in turn could affect your walking habits as well, gardening, doing house hold chores, in short any activity involving a repetitive movement of specific muscles. Hai Lam, a professional gamer in League of Legends circles, was forced to retire from professional gaming in 2023 due to tendinitis in one of his forearm muscles. It affected his play so much that the only solution for him was to take a break from his work in the team. As many of you will probably know from your own gaming experience, or watching your son or daughter when they are behind the computer, the movements involved are not typically grand or high impact movements. This scenario is the perfect example of a case of tendinitis caused by small repetitive movements overusing the tendon rather than sudden injury.
Symptoms of tendinitis vary, but most often includes pain and joint stiffness. A burning sensation can occur as well as swelling, a red tint and in serious scenarios visible knots can appear near the inflamed tendon around the joint. If these symptoms are chronic, lasting more than 6 months, it is possibly tendinosis rather than tendinitis. In cases such as these or with the onset of acute pain call a doctor and arrange an appointment as home treatment is not advised.
The different prevention methods or possible cures for tendinitis are very traditional and simple for mild tendinitis. In order to prevent the sudden overuse of a muscle and ligament gradually build up your activity levels and take it slow, listen to your body. When you feel unpleasant pain other than the normal muscle soreness after an intense workout this is your body telling you to rest. If the joint is inflamed and/or swollen doctors often prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If a certain activity activates the pain, try to change your position or technique, if the pain persists this might be an indication that rest is required. In more extreme cases of chronic tendinitis, after doctor consultations and visits, laser therapy, or further enhanced methods of surgery might be required.
Tendinitis is painful, and can occur in any individual. In mild cases it is possible for rest and anti-inflammatory drugs to completely heal the tendinitis, as it is mainly an “overuse” issue. Just as Hai Lam had to retire from gaming for a time to allow his tendinitis to heal properly, it is important for individuals to avoid the various activities provoking the pain and allow their body to heal.
Best, J. (2017). Common Overuse Tendon Problems: A Review and Recommendations for Treatment – American Family Physician. Aafp.org. Retrieved 28 April 2020, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0901/p811.html
Brandham, R. (2017). The truth about tennis elbow | Tennismash. Tennismash. Retrieved 28 April 2020, from http://tennismash.com/2017/02/21/truth-tennis-elbow/