Tendonitis is also known as tendon inflammation. Tendons are the flexible and fibrous bands of tissue that are used to connect the muscles of a particular part of the body to the bones or the skeleton.
When these tendons get irritated or get small tears, they get inflamed, and this is what is referred to as tendonitis.
The tendons vary in size.
They can be small like the ones on the palms of the hands or as large as those that support the muscles at the calf area or thighs of the leg. Tendinitis causes extreme pain and tenderness in the affected area.
It makes it hard to move this joint. It is because the sheath mostly occurs at the area where the tendon joins to the bone.
- Overuse- This is where a particular body part is moved too often. The repetitive motion is mostly experienced when carrying out some tedious exercises such as recreational, athletic and occupational exercises.
- Overload- This is where the muscle is overloaded with the amount of weight or work that it can handle. Activities such as weight lifting where the person keeps adding the weight that they are lifting can cause a strain on the muscles. When it is too much, this stretch can lead to the tearing of one of the tendons.
- Trauma and thermal injury- This is an injury that can be caused by an accident or some trauma. Small accidents can cause the tendons to get some microscopic tears and inflammation.
- Antibiotics- Use of some medicines such as the Levofloxacin, Fluoroquinolones and the Ciprofloxacin also exposes one to getting workout injuries such as tendonitis. These drugs prevent certain cells such as the tendons from replicating and repairing themselves. The more you exercise though under these drugs, the higher the chance of getting the tears.
- Diseases- The people who are suffering from diseases such as obesity, diabetes and the rheumatoid arthritis are also prone to getting this disease.
- Smoking- Smokers are also likely to get tendonitis when they get into some repetitive activities as opposed to the non- smokers. The nicotine in the cigarettes has an effect on the muscles which makes them weaker and the tendons easy to inflame or tear.
- Age- With age, a person, becomes less flexible and is more prone to injury. If the person is involved in some strenuous or repetitive movement, they there is a high chance of them getting tendonitis.
Commonly Affected Areas
Tendonitis can affect any tendon in the body, but ligaments on certain parts of the body are more likely to get the tendon inflammation. These are the joints that are more likely to experience a repeated use when doing some activities. The areas that are prone to these are the shoulders, the wrists, knees, elbows and the heel of the foot. It is what makes up the different form of Tendonitis. This condition comes in the following ways:
- Tendonitis affecting the elbow
- Lateral epicondylitis or the Tennis elbow- Pain is felt on the outside part of the angle. The tendons that attach the muscles to the lateral epicondyle of the elbow are the ones which are inflamed. The lateral epicondyle is the bony part of the angle that is farthest from the body when you stand with the palms facing forward. This elbow tendonitis is caused by the repetitive movement of this part especially when playing racquet games such as tennis. It probably affects up to 50% of the athletes of these games due to the twist and the flexing of the wrist.
- Medial epicondylitis or the golfer’s elbow- A person feels pain on the inner side of the angle. It is also known as the baseball elbow or the suitcase elbow. It is where the tendons that attach the muscles to the medial epicondyle are inflamed. With palms facing forward, this is the part of the angle that is closest to the body. It is associated with substantial lifting such as construction work and when swinging the golf club or swinging a baseball ball.
- Tendonitis affecting the shoulder
It is the form which attacks most people. It is known as the rotator cuff tendonitis. It is also referred to as the swimmer’s shoulder, pitcher’s shoulder, and the tennis shoulder. This form of the condition occurs when the person repeatedly moves the arm over the head. It causes the inflammation of the rotator’s cuff which is a set of muscles that control how the shoulders move. The tendons that form the rotator’s cuff are the teres minor, the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus and the subscapularis tendons. People who are prone to these are the swimmers, welders, carpenters and baseball and tennis players.
- Tendonitis affecting the knee
It is also known as the jumper’s knee. This tendonitis affects the patellar tendon on the lower edge of the kneecap. It also affects the quadriceps tendons on the upper side of the kneecap. It is as a result of overuse, especially with basketball players.
- Tendonitis affecting the wrist
One feels pain at the back of the wrist at the base of the thumb. It usually appears as the de Quervain’s disease. The tendons around this place get inflamed due to continuously grasping something or repeated pinching. Some people get this form during pregnancy for no reason.
- Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendon is the large muscle attached the back of the foot on the heel bone. This tendonitis affects this tendon after the overuse of this tendon during specific sporting activities. It is mostly affecting the runners and jumpers, accounting for 15% of all the running injuries. People who wear poorly fitting shoes whose back digs into the Achilles tendon above the heel can also get this tendonitis. Sometimes it is also related to inflammation diseases like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and reactive arthritis.
- Pain in the affected area. Usually, it is a dull ache that is more prominent when moving the specific limbs or the joint area.
- There is some swelling and inflammation on the affected area and tenderness on the muscles.
- A lump may develop along the tendon that has the tear
- When you try to move the limbs with the affected muscle, there is a cracking feeling and some grating.
- Pain mostly worsens at night and may interfere with sleep. The pain is sometimes transferred to the other muscles that are close to it.
Prevention of Tendonitis
Some people are more prone to getting tendonitis such as the athletes, people on the construction sites and people above the age of 40. However, there are some things that you can do to prevent or reduce the occurrence of this condition:
- Ensure you warm up before taking up strenuous exercises. This is important to prepare the muscles.
- Ease up when carrying out activities. Avoid prolonged repetitive activities which strain the tendons and mostly cause their inflammation. In case you feel some pain, ensure you stop and rest to avoid a possible tear.
- Stretch after exercising. After a long and strenuous exercise, ensure that you stretch out the joints and muscles. This maximizes on the range of motions of the joints. It reduces the trauma that occurs in tight tissues which work best when the muscles are still warm after the exercise.
- Improve the technique in which you carry out certain activities. Most of the time, tendonitis occurs when the person does something in a way that put a strain on certain muscles. Ensure you try using the best technique and keep changing until you get what works for you. You can take some lessons or professional instructions.
- Cross-training or mixing-up the activities. In case a particular action causes a persistent pain or discomfort, try changing it up with something else. It helps to mix up a high impact exercise with a lower impact exercise such as biking.
- Check on your working ergonomics to ensure that they are proper. You can have your workplace accessed to check if anything is going to cause a strain on any of your tendons and joints. It can be the positioning of your chair, the height of your table among other things.
Once you have established that the area has tendon inflammation, the following should be some of the things that you can do to reduce the pain and the swelling on the place. In case it is very severe, ensure you see a doctor to get professional advice.
- Apply some ice on the place. You can use some frozen peas or cabbage leaves which tend to have a prolonged cooling effect. You can also apply some heat depending on which one best gives relieve.
- Put the tendon in an elevated position to aid in blood circulation around the place. Ensure you rest it first so as not to add more strain on the tendon which might cause more tears.
- If the place is swollen, wrap it in a compression bandage. It is going to help the swelling to go down. Keep it on until you see some improvement unless when taking a shower.
- Take some pain relievers to help kill the pain and some anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include the aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and the naproxen.
- When the pain subsides, try moving and exercising this area. The stretches are going to help in building the muscle strength. It aids in the healing process, and it speeds up the process. It is essential especially for the athletes who are suffering from tendonitis.
In a more complex situation, specialists advise for:
- Physical therapy on the affected limbs to aid in movement
- Using a cane and supporting the area in splints and braces to reduce the movement of the muscles around the tendon. It happens when moving this tendon will cause more damage.
- Undergoing surgery on the inflammatory tissue to reduce pain. This is necessary when there are some calcium deposits around the tendon. An extracorporeal shock wave therapy can also be used to break up these deposits.
- Some corticosteroid injections. These injections reduce pain and inflammation on the tendon but can weaken the tendon when repeatedly done.
Getting some proper treatment is essential. It is done because when tendonitis is not handled well, it can result in a tendon rupture. This will need surgery.
Best Essential Oils for Tendonitis
There are a number of ways in which you can treat tendonitis. Most of them are a change of lifestyle and the way in which one carries out certain activities and sometimes it might need surgery. However, some essential oils can be used to ease up the pain and to speed up the healing process of the tendon. The essential oils are used in aromatherapy and during a massage to relieve the soreness and aches efficiently.
These essential oils are used to relieve inflammation and pain around the injured tendon.
1. Wintergreen essential oil
This essential oil is beneficial when dealing with any soreness and discomfort in the muscles. It is known to alleviate pain in the muscle tissues. This oil has a high content of methyl salicylate which is why it acts well as cortisone. It is perfect for the tendon inflammation since it is a natural inflammatory. Broken tendons are as a result of muscle soreness which is why this oil is very active.
You can dilute it using a carrier oil and apply it directly to the affected area. Ensure you massage in the oil for best results. [source]
This essential oil is best known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving ability. It contains compounds that are good for the skin and the muscles. It has excellent antioxidant compounds too. Chamomile is either the German chamomile or the Roman chamomile. The German chamomile has a soothing and calming effect on the skin which is very important when nursing a joint injury.
Massage this oil carefully ensuring that the oil gets deep in the skin while still taking care not to cause more tendon tear. [source]
3. Sweet Marjoram
This oil is a mild sedative and acts as an excellent painkiller. When applied to the affected area, this oil has potent effects on any tenderness in the muscles and the pain. Tendonitis causes some dull pain which can be well relieved by this oil. It works very well with osteoarthritis and the rheumatoid. It can reduce the inflammation that occurs in the joints that are affected. Its compounds can work on the joint stiffness and muscle spasms. [source]
It is a prevalent and well-known pain relieving essential oil. It has been used for centuries for headaches and migraines. It contains some compounds that make it a mild sedative. From a study done in 2015, this oil was found to have anti-inflammatory and some analgesic properties. This oil will work very efficiently for a broken tendon when applied topically on the affected area. It works just like most pharmaceutical drugs with these properties. In case a patient has undergone surgery to remove inflammation from the tendon, then they can inhale the lavender direct from the bottle. It affects almost similar to that of morphine. [source]
The peppermint essential oil has antispasmodic properties which are why it works well for tendon inflammation and arthritis. It can calm the aches and reduce the inflammations due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a certain amount of menthol which is why it is refreshing and cooling when applied to the affected area. It is able to relax the muscles which are usually tensed due to the tendonitis. It works when used for aromatherapy and a deep massage.[source]
6. Clary Sage
This essential oil works very well as the massage oil for aching joints and muscles. Topically massaging the affected place helps to relieve the muscle cramps and to reduce the tenderness. It gives some relaxing effect on the person who is using it. Sometimes it is combined with chamomile to form a blend that is used to relieve stress and tension. [source]
This oil has a significant percentage of anti-inflammatory compounds known as the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. It also has some compounds which have a relaxing effect on the muscles, and it can reduce the tension that occurs in the tissues around the place of injury. It has small portions of di-ketones which are pain-reducing and analgesic. It works very well when relieving joint pains. [source]
8. Rose geranium
This essential oil can reduce pain that occurs in muscles and joints. Tendonitis affects shoulders, knees, wrist and other joints and this oil work remarkably well for the knee pains and the back pains. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory and much safer than most of the drugs. It has the same effect on the body as anti-rheumatic and the anti-arthritis drugs. [source]
This essential oil has a refreshing and robust scent when inhaled. It can boost the moods of the person as well as reduce the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis. It is an excellent pain-reliever and reduces inflammation in the affected joints and tendons. It also eases the sore muscles. [source]
Natural Home Remedies for Tendonitis
The essential oils work wonders in trying to relieve the pain on the broken tendons as well as speed up the healing process. However, there are other home remedies that you can use to sooth the sensitive surface.
- Wrap the affected area with some vinegar cloth
Get either hot or cold wrap and dip them in some vinegar. The cold treatment reduces inflammation while the thermal treatment is good to ease the pain and relax the sore muscles. Wrap the area for five to ten minutes and repeat three times.
- Take vitamin E to relieve the inflammation
Vitamin E is available in many foods but it can also be gotten as supplements in pills. Pain results in free the radicals and vitamin E can get rid of them. It also helps in circulation which helps in reducing the swelling in the area. Massage the area using vitamin E oil two or three times a day until you get some relief.
- Use ginger for tendonitis
This spice has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help to reduce the swelling and pain in the tender place. Take one tablespoon of ginger in one cup of water, two or three times a day. Ensure you let it simmer for about 10 minutes and sieve before drinking it.
- Use alcohol and rosemary
Mix 25 grams of ground rosemary with 250 cm3 of ethyl alcohol and place in an air-tight bottle. Ensure the container is dark to prevent sunlight from penetrating. Let this tonic soak for one week then strain it. Massage the affected area with this mixture for relief in the painful joints and tendons.
- Epsom salt
This salt contains magnesium which is very good to treat the tendon problem. It treats the inflammation and pains in the tendons. Add some Epsom salt with some warm water and mix until it dissolves. Soak the foot or the affected joint for one hour in this solution. Repeat two or three times a week for some weeks. In case it cannot be soaked. Dip a washcloth in the solution and compress the affected place.
Repetitive strenuous activities in certain parts of the body are the leading causes of tendonitis. It happens when the tendons which attach the muscles to certain joints and bones get inflamed or some microscopic tears. It is as associated with some dull pain around the affected area and some swelling. There are a number of essential oils that you can use to relieve the pain as well as to reduce the inflammation and the tenderness on the muscles.