Quick ways to get relief from tendonitis

Tendonitis, also known medically as tendinitis, plagues many a weekend warrior, and even some who are not so active.

HealthSouth physical therapist Erica Korner has experienced the pain and swelling herself, in her wrist and thumb.

It can happen when our tendons, the bands of fibrous tissues that connect our muscles and bones, get stressed or irritated.

Korner says often the problem is over-use.

We do too much too quickly, when it comes to exercise, or we keep repeating the same movements, straining the tendons.

"Sometimes it occurs from initial injury,” says Korner. “But, most often, it occurs from repetitive motion, doing the same thing over and over, and that's creating the stress and then it irritates the tendon."

The most common joints affected by tendonitis are the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder and thumb.  But any joint can be affected.

So, say you've overdone it, and now you’re hurting.  What can you do?

"The first thing you need to is rest it, and avoid the painful motions,” says Korner. “Because you want to try and calm that irritation down and that inflammation."

If the injury is new, and the area is swollen, ice it to calm down the inflammation in the tendons.

Or, if the injury is older, try using a heat pack to increase blood flow to the tendons and warm up the joint.

Compressing the painful area with an elastic bandage can also help, as can elevating the area.

And, you may want to try an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.

If the pain is severe, you might need a stronger prescription anti-inflammatory.

Rest is usually your best bet, but if a couple of weeks passes, and you're still hurting, Korner says get to a doctor.

“Have it checked out and get a diagnosis,” she says. “And they might send you to physical therapy. And, in physical therapy, we have all kinds of ways to treat the tendonitis and get you back on track."