Dealing with bursitis and tendinitis

October 9, 2015

Variety is good for both mind and body. What your body may not like is performing the same movements over and over again, which sometimes ends in tendinitis. It's caused by inflammation of a tendon, a tough band of tissue that connects bones to muscles.  Overuse of a joint can also cause bursitis, or inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion pressure points where muscles and tendons move across bone. Protect yourself with these steps.

Dealing with bursitis and tendinitis

1. Revamp your exercise routine

Overuse or misuse of joints and muscles causes the majority of tendinitis and bursitis cases. Don't quit exercising! Instead, follow these tips for injury-free movement.

  • Book a session or two with a personal trainer to evaluate your regular workout and identify movements that may be putting unnecessary strain on your joints and tendons.
  • Start slowly. Just as it takes a few minutes for the water in your shower to warm up, it takes a few minutes for your muscles and joints to warm up when you start working out.
  • Be consistent. That means exercising several times a week, not just once or twice a month. It also means you shouldn't throw yourself into a competitive basketball game if you haven't played or exercised in awhile. Increase exercise by no more than five to 10 percent each week.
  • Switch activities throughout the week. For instance, if you work out with weights twice a week, spend one day on leg exercises and one day on upper-body exercises. If you run three times a week, bike on the other days. If you garden intensively one day, water the lawn or take a walk the next.
  • Rest. Give yourself at least one day off each week. And if you feel any joint soreness after a workout, ice the joint to ward off inflammation.

2. A tip for "housemaid's knee"

If you kneel a lot on the job, while cleaning or when gardening, you're at risk of developing this condition, officially known as repatellar bursitis. Investing in a thick pair of knee pads, available at home improvement and hardware stores, can save you from the pain.

3. Stretch and strengthen

Range-of-motion exercises and weight-bearing exercises designed to strengthen muscles can reduce strain on joints, helping to prevent overuse injuries. For best results, book a few sessions with a personal trainer or physical therapist to identify the best exercises for you based on the activities you do most.

4. Use insoles or orthotics if you need them

A major cause of Achilles tendinitis, an injury to the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone, is hyperpronation of the foot — a fancy term that simply means your ankles roll in. When you shop for sneakers, do it at an athletic shoe store, not a department store, and ask the salesperson to help you find a shoe with the support you need.

If your pronation is bad, you may want to see a podiatrist to be fitted for custom orthotics, or start with a basic pair of shoe inserts from the drugstore and see if they help. In addition, wear the right shoes for the sport you're playing. For instance, if you play basketball, wear high-top sneakers for better ankle support.

5. Pay attention to pain

If your joint feels sore, take some ibuprofen or ice it. Both can relieve inflammation, possibly preventing long-term damage. If the pain recurs, don't hesitate to use a band or a brace where you need it.

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