5 steps to fix tendinitis

Community: Health tip from Cody Scharf

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Cody Scharf, community contributor

Editor’s note: Cody Scharf is owner of Thrive Spine and Sport, a chiropractic and soft tissue clinic in Cedar Rapids focusing on sport and overuse injuries. Scharf is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and certified by Integrative Diagnosis for diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries.

Tendinitis may be common, but the solution to finding relief for some reason is never easy.

Fortunately, fixing it can be as easy as a five-step process.

Step 1: Get the proper diagnosis. Tendinitis is one of the most overdiagnosed conditions in the body. It also is one of the most mistreated. What research has shown over the last few decades is tendinitis is not the tendinitis that we know. Tendinitis is most often a degenerative condition and rarely an inflammatory one. This is a game-changer when it comes to treatment. The classic treatment of tendinitis with rest, ice, compression, elevation (or R.I.C.E) could actually make you worse. Tendinosis, a degenerative condition, is more prevalent between the two diagnosis, yet less diagnosed, and treatment of the condition requires almost the exact opposite of “R.I.C.E.” Its treatment also is a four-step process, but doesn’t come with the fancy acronym.

Step 2: Reduce your load. Tendinosis, as mentioned, is degenerative. This means the tendon is actually breaking down from overuse. In order for proper recovery to happen a general guideline is to reduce your load by a minimum of 50 percent. Each case is unique, though, so it’s important to discuss your load and current activity with your provider.

Step 3: Manual therapy. As tendon breaks down, weakened, dysfunctional tendon is the result. Adhesion is the most common, most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition in the body. When present it also speeds up the rate of degeneration in the body by placing increased stress on muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. The bad tissue has to be removed for complete resolution. Specifically applied manual therapy is the best treatment option to break down adhesion and the degenerated tendon.

Step 4: Eccentric exercise. Eccentric exercise is a very specific exercise used to load a tendon. This helps to regrow stronger, healthier tendons. Each eccentric exercise is different for each body part. It is important to note this type of exercise should only be instated after manual therapy has been effective at breaking down a majority of bad tissue, and it has been determined you are ready for more load to be placed on the injured area.

Step 5: Bracing. Really, this is a step that can be implemented at any time. Sometimes bracing should be used at the onset of care. Other times bracing is used after treatment is going slower than thought. Depending on the amount of degeneration, tendinosis is a condition that can take more than a few weeks to cure. Bracing helps to offer support through treatment to aid in recovery and further reduce the load being placed on the injured area. Usually, you can get away with using a fairly inexpensive brace from a local sporting goods or department store.

Tendinitis is a real pain and often misdiagnosed and mistreated. If you, or someone you know has been struggling to find relief from tendinitis, you may have been misdiagnosed. You should seek a second opinion. You deserve better answers and solutions to your problem.

For more information, email Scharf at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com or visit www.thrivespineandsport.com.

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