Elbow Tendonitis (Tendinitis)
Tendons are bands of connective tissue that join your muscles to your bones. These connections allow you to move your body when you contract your muscles. The elbow joint involves the primary tendons - the biceps tendon and the triceps tendon. The biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle to the radius (one of the two bones of the forearm) on the inside portion of the elbow; when the biceps muscle is contracted, this allows you forcefully pull your forearm toward your upper arm (this movement is know as flexion). The triceps tendon connects the tricep muscle group to the ulna (the other bone in the forearm besides the redius) on the outside of the elbow; when the triceps muscle is contracted, this allows you to straighten your elbow joint (this movement is known as extension). These two tendons are responsible for handling most of the larger forces on the elbow joint although elbow tendonitis often comes from the smaller tendons in the elbow joint that are responsible for wrist movement - the medial epicondyle and lateral epicondyle.
Tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) is inflammation in a tendon. When you are diagnosed with tendonitis of the elbow, it means that one or more of the four tendons in the elbow has become inflamed. The inflammation of tendonitis is usually a result of tiny tears or repetitive irritation of the tendon.
There are 2 types of tendonitis; acute and chronic. Acute tendonitis refers to inflammation that comes on suddenly, usually from a trauma, such as a fall causing dislocation, overloading during exercise, or even something as innocuous as duffing a golf drive...
Chronic tendonitis develops over time and generally results from long term repetitive use of one or some of the tendons of the forearm or elbow. Common activities that cause chronic tendinitis in the elbow are activities like weight lifting, tennis, repetitive throwing in sports or bowling. With both types of tendinitis, the condition can be very painful and will likely have periods where it flares up, and periods when it feels somewhat better after it has been rested or the repetitive motion that irritates it has been stopped.
If someone does a physical activity to excess they strain the muscle(s) that was/are overused. This can happen to a retired person working in their garden too hard, or to a well-trained athlete who is pushing themselves too hard. This problem is commonly seen in the "weekend warrior" athlete who sits at a desk all week and then plays softball or tennis all day on the weekend. The resultant muscle strain (mild tear) creates inflammation and pain. This strain usually occurs near the end of the muscle where it attaches to a bone or blends into its tendon, creating a condition known as acute tendinitis. This condition could also be created if the muscle is strained from trauma such as a fall or misstep.
When treating acute tendinitis rest the area, apply cold compression for 10-20 minutes at a time for at least 3 times a day. Do this to the injured area for the first day up to 3 days. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ may be used after the acute swelling is improved and rest prevents further tendon injury. Cold compression therapy will reduce initial inflammation and swelling and the heat stimulates blood flow through the area to speed the healing process. The Inferno Wrap® will stimulate blood flow and minimize the build up of scar tissue around the tendon during the healing process.
Chronic tendonitis (or chronic tendinitis) occurs when a tendon near a joint becomes inflamed, usually because of repetitive overuse. The condition will typically affects patients in the shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle and foot areas, as these are the most active and stressed joints. Close to 4 million people in the United States seek treatment each year for symptoms of tennis elbow alone! This one of the most common locations for chronic tendonitis and is quite common among athletes. Swinging a golf club or a tennis racquet repetitively can wear on a person's tendons and cause them to become inflamed.
Until recently, treatment options for patients with chronic tendonitis have been limited to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, and stretching exercises, but that is changing due to new treatment methods such as Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ and shockwave vibration therapies. The Inferno Wrap® is quickly becoming very popular for treating this problem, as results have been very positive as long as the patient (1) keeps the area inactive throughout the healing process and (2) sticks to the treatment properly until healing has completed.
The trick to any tendon injury is getting it to heal with minimal scar tissue formation and with as much realignment of tendon fibers as possible - something BFST® (by using the Inferno Wrap®) and Freezie Wraps® are great at! Even with optimum healing there is always less elasticity in a previously injured tendon. The trick is to make sure you heal this the best you can, that way your chance of reinjury down the road is much lower than average.
Symptoms of Elbow Tendonitis
The symptoms of chronic elbow tendinitis usually begin with mild pain in the elbow or forearm that gradually becomes worse. Acute symptoms will come on more suddenly. If you have elbow tendinitis, some possible symptoms may be:
- Pain in the lower bicep or forearm that becomes worse when the elbow joint undergoes stress... ie: when carrying a load, using a nail gun, or swinging a golf club or tennis racket. Initially, the pain is felt during activities only but eventually you will feel it even while your elbow is at rest.
- Limited range of motion in either the ability to rotate your forearm or straighten and hinge your elbow.
- Tenderness and a burning sensation in your elbow.
- The feeling that the muscles in the elbow area are not operating smoothly, or pain results from small motions of the elbow joint.
- Difficulty sleeping at night due to pain or difficulty brushing teeth, combing hair, using utensils properly etc.
- A feeling of weakness in the elbow, especially with pushing, carrying a load or working overhead.
Elbow Tendonitis Treatments - What You Can Do!
If you have a rotator cuff tendinitis, rest is highly recommended. Avoid activities that cause pain or may have caused the inflammation and begin cold compression treatments using the Elbow Freezie Wrap® as soon as possible.
The trick to healing your tendinitis and getting your elbow back in the best possible condition you can is getting it to heal with minimal scar tissue - something our Elbow Inferno Wraps® excel at! Even with optimum healing, there is usually less elasticity in previously injured tendons. However, if you heal your tendinitis properly and minimize the buildup of scar tissue, you will maximize the range of motion in your elbow and minimize your chance of re-injuring your tendon. Attack your tendonitis injury early and thoroughly to make sure it doesn't continue nagging you for years (chronic tendonitis); if you don't address the injury properly, it will stick around and often become a worsening injury that become more troublesome and painful over time.
There are healing tools that can help treat your elbow tendonitis and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST®) will treat scar tissue and promote blood flow to heal your tendonitis faster and more completely than any other methods available.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Therapy
To decrease inflammation and relieve the pain of elbow tendinitis doctor's recommend cold compression therapy. For acute tendinitis, cold compression therapy within the first 48 - 72 hours following the injury and after any further irritation is important to limit the amount of damage done to your tissue. Cold compression therapy will relieve pain and swelling of both chronic and acute tendinitis and will reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs.
The Elbow Freezie Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need to treat tendons of the elbow in a highly effective, convenient way.
Cold compression therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through your tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tendons, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important first step to dealing with tendinitis.
The deep cooling effect provided by the Elbow Freezie Wrap® slows cell metabolism thereby reducing cellular break-down and tissue damage. Furthermore, because the cold wraps gently numb the nerves, the wraps also reduce pain!
The Elbow Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack, that can chill in the fridge or the freezer, giving you whatever level of cold therapy you need. The medical-grade wrap keeps the cold directly off your skin preventing cryoburn while delivering the cold right where you need it.
Click here to learn more about Cold Compression Freezie Wraps®
During the healing process, scar tissue builds on the injured tendon. This scar tissue can cause the tendon to thicken, decreasing the area in the subacromial space and increasing the chance of impingement. In addition, scar tissue can bind tendons and ligaments together - it is sticky stuff. The inflexible scar tissue limits the movement of these tendons and ligaments that were once elastic and allowed the elbow its large range of motion. As a result, movement of the entire joint is limited making it difficult to lift your forearm or to even steer a car. If left untreated, the elbow may lose more and more range of motion due to lack of use (because it is painful to move). At the very least, scar tissue leaves your tendon weaker than a healthy tendon, leaving your elbow tendons and muscles weakened and at greater risk of further deterioration and possible tearing.
Once the inflammation of your tendinitis has been reduced, nourishing and strengthening the tendon and surrounding area is highly recommended. To do this, you want to use an Elbow Inferno Wrap®. The Inferno Wrap® uses a process know as Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ which will speed your recovery and heal your elbow more completely preparing it for strengthening exercises. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to find out which exercises are appropriate for your situation.
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
After severe inflammation and swelling is reduced with an Elbow Freezie Wrap®, begin treating your elbow with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®). BFST® vastly increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your injured tendons and surrounding ligaments and muscle. Tendons are naturally prone to injury since they receive very little blood flow; use of an Inferno Wrap® vastly increases the rate of blood supplied to these tendons, effectively boosting their healing rate to a surprisingly high level. Most of our customers are astonished at the speed of recovery they achieve once they start treating themselves with an Inferno Wrap® - it's just works!
Tendons of the elbow naturally receive a limited blood supply and when you stop moving your elbow because it hurts the blood flow is reduced even further, limiting your body's natural ability to heal itself.
By treating your injured tendon with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the injury site and increase your body's natural healing power.
An Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your sore elbow because it speeds healing and relaxes the surrounding muscles. With BFST®, soft tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments) are safely and gently stimulated. Your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the treatment site, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue cells to promote healing. Our Elbow Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
In addition, the improved blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from your tendinitis injury. When you stop moving your arm and shoulder due to elbow pain, your muscles and other tissue can become weaker and dead cells and toxins in the area can cause further tissue deterioration - this can lead to atrophy. By clearing the area of toxins and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and other tissue, the risk of atrophy (muscle weakness and/or deterioration) is greatly reduced. Keeping your upper arm, elbow and forearm muscles and tendons as healthy as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to improve elbow strength again once your pain has gone and your tendinitis has healed.
Click here to learn more about how BFST® and Inferno Wraps® work.
With these simple and safe home treatment therapies - Freezie Wrap® cold compression therapy and Inferno Wrap® BFST® therapy, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your elbow range of motion.
Remember: We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physical therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your elbow area until your pain and inflammation settle, and you gain more mobility and strength in your arm. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!