Understanding the Basics of Issues Behind Tendon Strain and Pain

By Tom Nicholson

No matter how it's described, everyone agrees that a tendon strain is extremely painful. Usually a tendon strain means that due to something that caused the injury, the tendons inside were abnormally stretched. Put simply, tendons tie our bones to our muscles and they can be injured in playing sports, for example, or when an ankle twists wrongly.

Tendon injury can occur at different degrees, the worst of all is the stretching of a tendon to the point of rupturing the tendon. Tendon injuries can occur by overuse, falling and playing rigorously.

The arms, legs, feet and wrists can all be at risk of tendon strain when there is excessive stress and force placed on these tendons. Improperly lifting weights can cause tendon strain in weightlifters. Skiers may be at risk of a common tendon strain while falling that can tear the rotator cuff tendon in the shoulders.

When you twist your foot, for instance, you are overstretching the Achilles tendon, which is found right above your heel. This tendon is used a tremendous amount as it is what accelerates your body forward when starting a footrace, for example. People have been known to suffer a tendon strain when trying to stand on tiptoe as an example, if they have not kept that particular tendon moving properly prior to the injury.

However, tendon strain is treatable in many ways, depending of course on the type and degree of injury. The snapping of a tendon will most likely call for immediate surgery. Keep in mind that this type of tendon injury can cause permanent damage and disability if there is no medical treatment such as surgery to correct the problem.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation or R.I.C.E. applications work well as a treatment for tendon strain, when there is no need for surgery. However, it is debatable as to the amount of rest that is called for to relieve this problem. Not stretching the tendon can cause a premature shortening of the tendon. It may even cause more serious medical problems; therefore, medical professionals agree that a slow stretching is essential for the tendon on a daily basis, to prevent such occurrences.

With ice, care must be taken to not leave it on more than 20 minutes at a time, and the skin needs to be protected from direct contact with the ice. Icing prevents the swelling, though some will occur anyway if the injury was serious enough.

Limit the use of a compress and make sure that you do not make it too tight while using an ace bandage.

Elevation is helpful for reducing swelling; however, you should make sure that you do not elevate the area higher than your heart to get the best results of elevation.

After such an injury, it is necessary to keep your range of motion. However, you will need to exercise the area of the injured tendon strain most carefully. You may also wish to apply heat when the swelling goes down completely. After a complete recovery, strengthening exercises are essential. - 30540

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