Quick Action Steps on How to Deal with Tendonitis
The faster you can get evaluated by a medical professional, the faster you can get out of pain and begin the healing process. Don’t delay seeking treatment if you are in pain or suspect injury because you may develop complications (i.e. muscle atrophy, tendinosis, etc.) if the pain is severe and doesn’t settle within 2-3 days post-workout, listen to your body and get it checked out. If the pain is not severe and settles within 2-3 days, modifying the aggravating exercise can allow you to continue training.
My goal when rehabbing athletes is always to keep them in the gym, training around the injury. Afterall, what you do in the gym should make you better outside of the gym if done correctly - not worse! But, if you can’t find an exercise modification that significantly reduces or eliminates the pain, remove that exercise. The goal is to minimize the amount of time spent training with an injury (or around the injury), not to continue to push through the pain.
The traditional model for tendonitis involves icing the injury, but personally, I tend to not use ice on most injuries because it’s a known vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictors reduce the diameter of your blood vessels, which in turn limits blood flow and leaves the area congested. Blood flow is what brings healing mediators, white blood cells, and nutrients to the injured site. However, if ice feels good to you, it’s fine for pain management.
As you go throughout your workout, play with the angles and variations to see if you can find a modification that is less painful. Pay attention to when you feel the pain set in. If you know your technique, flexibility, strength, or joint stability are contributing to the issue, take this time to address your weak link. Then once you’ve fixed the underlying issue, gradually re-load the previously painful tissue to re-strengthen it.