Conditions > Tendinitis or Tendonitis
Natural Relief of Tendinitis
Tendinitis, or tendonitis, is a common condition and most of us have – or will – experience tendinitis at some point in our lives. But what causes tendinitis and how can you treat it naturally?
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What is tendinitis?
Tendinitis, or tendonitis, describes an inflammation of a tendon. Tendons attach your muscles to your bones. Tendinitis most often affects the elbow, knee, ankle, and foot.
When your tendon is irritated, pain and discomfort occur when the muscle of the affected tendon is activated. This means any motion of the affected area can result in pain. But what causes tendons to become irritated?
What causes tendinitis?
If you are reading this and are experiencing tendinitis, your pain is most likely as a result of overtraining or overdoing a repetitive motion. That repetitive motion forces the tendon to move backwards and forwards for extended periods of time, resulting in irritation and pain.
Some common causes of tendinitis include:
Working in the garden
Painting or hammering
Scrubbing the kitchen counters
Playing golf or tennis
Running or walking
Tendinitis that doesn’t go away
If you are experiencing persistent tendinitis, or tendinitis that doesn’t go away, your tendinitis may be caused by a joint instability.
A joint instability typically occurs after an injury. In fact, a joint instability can develop years after an injury has seemingly healed.
As you start to develop a joint instability in a ligament or tendon, after a sports injury, for example, we lose alignment in the joint. Because your joint is designed to work in a very specific range of motion, any extra motion resulting from a damaged ligament means your muscle is working too hard. As you continue to use that muscle, you start to inflame and irritate the tendon.
In most cases, this scenario is what contributes to a case of persistent tendinitis. As a result of that past injury, your tendon may be getting easily overworked. The result is pain.
Most common tendinitis conditions
Patellar tendinitis – Patellar tendinitis affects the tendons around the kneecap, also called the patella.
We can get inflammation in these tendons and experience pain around the kneecap when the leg is flexed or extended. The repetitive motion of running, for example, can make patellar tendinitis pain worse.
If you’re experiencing patellar tendinitis, it’s important to look at the stability of the knee joint. If the knee is unstable and causing patellar tendinitis, it can be treated very easily with prolotherapy. If no instability exists, resting the knee for longer than you think is best.
Peroneal tendinitis – Peroneal tendinitis occurs in the peroneal tendons, found on the outside of the leg. If you have peroneal tendinitis, you may have pain that shoots down the outside of your leg into your ankle, and even into your toes.
The pain is made worse by walking or running. High heels may also aggravate the peroneal tendon.
If you have peroneal tendinitis, make sure you wear shoes with good support. Gently stretching the foot can also help relieve inflammation. Herbal patches – such as 701 Plasters – can also offer relief when placed over the inflamed area.
Achilles tendinitis – Achilles tendinitis is often caused by a tight calf muscle. When your calf muscle gets tight and you don’t stretch it, the muscle can shorten and cause extra tension on your Achilles tendon. The result? Aggravation and pain when you walk, run, or hike.
More specifically, you start to get inflammation where your calf muscle attaches to your heel. As with peroneal tendinitis, gentle stretching and the application of herbal patches such as the 701 Plasters can offer effective over-the-counter, at home treatments.
In cases where an instability in the knee or ankle joint causes the calf muscle to stay tightened, a combination of osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, and sometimes prolotherapy can help stabilize the knee and ankle joint.
Epicondylitis – Epicondylitis is often times referred to as tennis elbow or Golfer’s elbow. If you are suffering from epicondylitis, you most likely have pain on either the inside or outside of the elbow.
Pain is often made worse by picking something up or carrying something. Often just using the hand can cause pain that radiates down the arm.
But the good news is epicondylitis is fairly easy to diagnose on your own. Remember, this is an inflammation of the elbow joint. If you have tennis elbow or Golfer’s elbow, you will likely find a tender spot when you apply pressure somewhere around the elbow joint.
Rather than treating this with steroids, which many, many physicians do, first find out why your elbow developed tendinitis. Often times, epicondylitis is due to some type of instability in the elbow joint. If no instability exists, consider resting the elbow and for longer than you think.
Treatment for tendinitis
The first step to treating tendinitis is figuring out what is causing the tendinitis. Once you have identified whether the tendinitis is caused by an instability in the joint, or by overdoing a repetitive motion, you can begin to treat the inflamed joint using a combination of the following treatments.
Stretching – Depending on what type of tendinitis you are treating, you will need specific stretches. Speak with your physician about what kind of stretches are appropriate for your tendinitis. When performing your stretches, make a point to stretch gently and slowly to not damage the ligaments any more.
Chinese herbs – By using Chinese herbal medicine, you can naturally reduce inflammation of the joint suffering from tendinitis. 701 Plasters are plasters that contain Chinese herbs. You can apply the patch several times a day. Herbal medicine will seep through your skin and naturally decrease some of the inflammation.
Prolotherapy – Prolotherapy is an injection therapy that strengthens weakened or damaged ligaments. If your tendinitis is caused by a joint instability, your ligament is likely weakened. A prolotherapy treatment involves injecting a natural dextrose solution into your joint. This solution is designed to strengthen the ligament and eliminate the pain.
Patellar tendinitis explained https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3088395/
Achilles tendinitis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429915/
Peroneal tendon injuries https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19411642
Lateral epicondylitis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799438/
Prolotherapy & tendon injury https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938120/
Written by: Dr. Dan Williams, DO
Last edited: March 11, 2019