Here's What Really Causes Tendinitis

Over the last year, life has changed massively for many people. It's very likely that you had to pack up your office and move it into your home. The exercise app, Strava, also noted that people took up walking, running, and cycling to pass the hours in lockdown (via BBC News). However, if you've started to feel some new aches and pains, it could be due to your change in lifestyle. So here's what really causes tendinitis. The Arthritis Foundation outlines that tendons are thick cords of tissue that connect your muscles to bone. They're found all over your body — from your shoulders, elbows, and arms to your calves and ankles. When they get inflamed, your joints can feel painful and it can become difficult to move.

Joint pain can be pretty scary, especially if it's not something you've ever experienced before. The NHS writes that the most tell-tale signs of tendinitis are pain that makes it difficult to move, feeling a grating or crackling sensation around your tendon, or swelling which is sometimes hot or red. Anyone can get tendinitis, outlines WebMD, but it's most common in people over the age of 40.

Healthline explains that, over the years, tendinitis has been given different names. Some have called it swimmer's shoulder, jumper's knee, pitcher's shoulder, golfer's elbow, or tennis elbow. All these names give a pretty good indication of some of the causes of the condition. However, if your new hobby is causing you pain, you don't need to give up on it. There are things you can do to ease tendinitis.

Why do your tendons become inflamed?

Runner's World writes that your tendon can become inflamed when it's put under chronic stress, or from injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, most cases of tendinitis stem from an injury or repetition of a movement (hence the name tennis elbow and swimmer's shoulder).

You might develop tendinitis from your work. The NHS points out that another leading cause of tendon pain can be bad posture. If you're sitting at your computer all day and your back isn't supported by your chair, you may notice pain. Similarly, the Mayo Clinic writes that if your work is high intensity, involves lots of high reaching, heavy lifting, or repetitive movement, then you may notice new twinges.

A new exercise regime or hobby could also be the reason why your tendons are inflamed. Verywell Health states that, while you have tendons all over your body, the ones that usually cause you the most problems are the ones that have fewer blood vessels running to them. This will slow down the healing process. "Tendinitis is most often caused by the overuse of a tendon in the course of work, athletics, or daily activities," writes the publication, "It is most often associated with repetitive movements such as that caused by assembly line work or sports like golf or tennis where an action is repeated excessively."

How to treat and prevent tendinitis

If you've started to notice pain or fizzy feelings around your joints, then your instant reaction might be to give up whatever you're doing. However, if the pain is a result of your work or exercise, that's impractical. Healthline explains that if pain persists for a few days and interrupts everyday life then you should speak to your doctor.

It's likely your doctor will want to examine the area and ask you to complete some tasks to assess your range of motion. They might also ask you about any injuries you've had, the exercise you do, and any drugs you take.

Persistent pain can be really frustrating. However, the Arthritis Foundation explains that most treatment for tendinitis can be done at home. By resting, icing, elevating the area, and using compresses you could help the tissue to heal. You may also consider using a sling or brace to rest the area. However, in more serious cases, prescription medication can be used, and some people require surgery.

Prevention is better than cure and the Mayo Clinic outlines that if you start to notice aches and grating, then either avoid activities that put stress on your body or ease up when you have to perform repetitive movements. Try a different exercise or hobby so you're not doing the same thing consistently and, afterward, make sure you stretch properly.