If It Isn't Tendinitis, What Is it?

Brianna Clark
January 26, 2015

What is Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is a diagnosis that involves inflammation of a tendon due to injury or overuse. Overuse injuries occur as a result of a repetitive movement a person does at work all day or for a hobby.

Tendinitis is painful, can be tender to the touch and show signs of mild swelling. Without any treatment, tendinitis can increase your risk for a tendon rupture which is much more serious and may require surgical intervention.

What Causes Tendinitis?

It has previously been thought that overuse led to the fiber tearing diagnosis of tendinitis (-itis means inflammation) — due to tearing on the fibers or an inflammatory reaction. It has come to light through recent studies that the injury is actually due to a degeneration of collagen fibers within the tendon and not an inflammatory condition. For this reason, tendon injuries are now being referred to as tendinosis (-osis means abnormal state).

How Bodywork Helps Tendinosis

For all you bodyworker geeks out there, here is a little treat courtesy of Whitney Lowe:

“The primary benefit of Deep Transverse Friction in treating tendinosis appears to be stimulation of fibroblast activity in the degenerated tendon and not reducing adhesions between torn tendon fibers. Thus, friction massage does not need to be transverse to the primary fibers to be effective when treating tendinosis. Longitudinal friction (applied parallel to the tendon fiber direction) can achieve the same results as transverse movement. The fibroblast mobilization in damaged tendon fibers that is stimulated by friction appears to result from the combination of pressure and movement and not from the direction in which pressure is applied”

Steps for Treating Tendinosis

  • If it was a sudden injury, ICE! 10 minutes of ice, 10 minutes of no ice, 10 minutes of ice as need throughout the fist two days after injury. It’s critical to ice religiously in the first 48 hours after injury.
  • See a massage therapist trained in injury and overuse pathologies. We know techniques to properly treat the tendons for optimal results.
  • If it doesn’t get better in a week or so, see a doctor to rule out other possible issues.
  • If it is due to overuse, stop doing what caused it. This is hard but the more you neglect to give the tendon time to properly heal, the greater your chance of re-injury or rupture. Each time the tendon needs to start the healing process again, the longer it will take to heal. It’s frustrating, but that’s the truth.
  • It is critical to get oxygenated blood into the area for proper and timely healing to take place. Massage therapy, utilized frequently, along with self-massage is a crucial part of the treatment plan.

Even better, how do you prevent tendonosis? There are some easy things you can do.

Please schedule an appointment with us if you are looking to add massage therapy to your treatment plan!

picture of person being massaged where they may have tendinitis

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