Tendonitis: A Common Injury to the Knee, Elbow, Ankle and Shoulder

What is tendonitis?
Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon
.  Anatomically, tendons are connective tissue that connects muscles to bones. Think back to the Thanksgiving dinner table and picture a turkey leg. The tendons are the white flexible part that connects from the meat (muscle) to the end of the “drumstick” (bone). There are a lot of them!

Tendonitis is a common injury  in knees, elbows, ankles and wrists.
Several common forms of tendonitis are common to people in general regardless if you are an athlete or not. The specific name of the tendonitis condition is given because a sport like tennis or golf most commonly cause an expected and continual “over use” of specific muscles that cause the tendonitis.

Carpenters, plumbers and electricians often have Tennis Elbow (elbow tendonitis).  People that walk, run, or hike may  develop shin splints or Achilles tendonitis from the constant pull on the affected tendons.  Rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder) is common in pitchers, quarterbacks, rock climbers, and bouldering from continual loading and unloading the shoulder joint while throwing a ball or rock climbing.  And, patellar tendonitis (knee) is found often in tradesman who frequently climb up and down ladders, as well as many sports including soccer, football, running, cycling, and cross country racing. These are all tendonitis conditions in a different part of the body. You do not have to be an athlete to have a sports injury like Tennis Elbow or Achilles Tendonitis, or shin splints.

In sports and life in general, muscles (and tendons) are frequently used over and over doing the same repetitive motion or activity. For example, a golf swing, running, or weight lifting not only causes sore muscles, but also results in tendons that are injured. The result is often a muscle “strain” followed by a tendon that is inflamed and swollen.

When you have tendonitis, pressing on the affected area is often extremely painful to light touch. The area feels inflamed, irritated and sometimes unable to be used.

Tendonitis Treatment: A multi-faceted Approach
In our Fort Collins Chiropractic clinic, we see many patients with tendonitis who have: tennis elbow, golfers elbow, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, Achilles heel, patellar tendonitis, and rotator cuff injury. While the anatomy is different for a knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle, the overall treatment for the various forms of tendonitis are nearly identical.

  1.  Cold laser therapy | Decrease inflammation and pain. Speeds the healing response by stimulating protein synthesis and energy production at the cell level
  2. Electrical muscle stimulation | Decrease pain, inflammation and muscle spasm
  3. Physical medicine and rehabilitation techniques | Elongate shortened muscle and tendon patterns back to their normal resting length.
  4. Chiropractic adjustments | At the affected joint (knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, elbow) to balance joint biomechanics and function
  5. Ice | Decrease pain and swelling

Recently, I treated a competitive figure skater with a moderately severe case of shin splints. She could not train, run or skate. I used the protocol listed above and she was back on the ice in 2 days. I believe a combined approach works best. I found the catalyst and secret in her case that accelerated the healing response was the cold laser therapy (also called biostimulation, soft laser or low-level laser therapy – LLLT). Not everyone responds this quickly but no matter, the treatment works predictably well.  To learn more about Fort Collins cold laser and our other services, browse our website.

Need help treating a tendonitis or sports injury?

Call our Fort Collins chiropractic sports injury center at 970-493-3100 and schedule an appointment today. We offer a complimentary 20-minute consultation including free x-ray/MRI review to determine if we can help you. Sit down with Dr. Gil and see how you feel working together. No strings, No pressure. No charge. Simply our experience working to help you.

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