Many of you active CrossFitters have experienced at least one bout with some form of pesky tendonitis. Therefore, based on my recent readings surrounding commonly known tendonitis facts, I felt it would be prudent to address the condition in a post.
What exactly IS tendonitis? Well, let’s begin at the beginning. Tendons are tough, flexible, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When tendons become inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tears, the resulting condition is called tendonitis. Tendons can be small, like the delicate, tiny bands in the hands, or large, like the heavy, ropelike cords that anchor the calf or thigh muscles. In most cases, the cause of tendonitis is unknown; but when a cause CAN be identified, the condition usually happens for one of two reasons: Overuse, meaning a particular body motion is repeated too often. OR overload, meaning the intensity level of a certain activity, such as weightlifting, is increased too quickly.
Tendonitis most commonly occurs in the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist and heel, although it can happen anywhere in the body. In general, tendonitis causes pain in the tissues surrounding a joint, especially after the joint is used too much during play or work. (At the Zone, we like to think exercise is included in the ‘play’ category!) In some cases, the joint may feel weak, and the area may be red, swollen and warm to the touch.
Tendonitis ymptoms vary according to which tendon is affected:
– Rotator cuff tendonitis – Usually dull, aching shoulder pain that can’t be tied to one location. It often radiates into the upper arm toward the chest. The pain is often worse at night and may interfere with sleep.
– Tennis elbow – Pain in the outer side of the elbow. In some cases, the painful area extends down to the forearm and wrist
– Golfer’s elbow – Pain in the inner side of the elbow
– Jumper’s knee – Pain below the kneecap and, sometimes, above it
– De Quervain’s disease – Pain at the back of the wrist, near the base of the thumb
– Achilles tendonitis – Pain at the back of the heel or 2 to 4 inches above the heel
Depending on the location and severity of tendonitis, your symptoms may last for only a few days, or they could last for up to several weeks. If there is continued overuse or aggravation of the injured site, your pain may worsen and persist for several months. But in many cases, tendonitis can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Hurray! Some helpful strategies include:
– Always be sure to warm up before beginning exercise.
– If you want to intensify your exercise level, do it gradually.
– Wear shoes that fit properly, especially if your exercise regime requires a lot of running.
– Be careful about the “no pain, no gain” approach. Listen carefully to your body to distinguish between an ache that indicates you’re building strength and an ache that means you’ve injured a tendon.
– Make sure you refer to your coach for specific guidance on technique and form, to eliminate the chance you may be performing a movement incorrectly and upping your risk for tendonitis.
If you feel you’re suffering from a significant joint problem, such as severe pain, redness or swelling, or loss of joint function, it’s time to call your doctor. Also, call your doctor if less-severe joint pain is seemingly persistent. The quicker your tendonitis is treated, the sooner you’ll recover full strength and flexibility.
With proper treatment, the affected tendon usually recovers completely. However, incomplete rehabilitation or a hasty return to activity can slow the healing process or lead to re-injury. So be sure to give your body adequate time to heal and get back to normal, before pushing your fitness threshold again! Be good to your body, and it’ll be good to you.
Buy-in: 5 min dynamic movement (coaches’ choice)
WOD: The Gymnast’s Routine
This workout is not for time – work on technique and strength – seek refinement not haste.
Over the course of 30 minutes, accumulate (in ANY ORDER) the following:
- 15 muscle ups
- 20 pistols per leg
- 20 handstand pushups (no kipping for guys, girls head to one abmat and can kip)
- 30 toes to bar
- 10 cartwheels (each way)
Zone 3 – assisted muscle ups, scaled hspu (but still inverted!)
Zone 2 – movements scaled as needed
Cash-Out: 3 x 500m row, 3 min rest – partner up with somebody and rock it out.