Nagging minor injuries can shut you down from your favorite workouts or even limit your abilities at your job if you are in the tactical professions of military, police, and fire fighter. There are several things you can do to minimize the pain of certain injuries as well as help heal them so you can be 100 percent again. Here is a question from a gentleman in his forties who prefers to keep moving and not making too many changes to his workout because of a minor joint tendonitis.
Stew - Do you have advice for an old and persistent elbow tendonitis? In fact, what do you recommend to avoid injuries or still be able to do something with minor nagging injuries such as joint tendonitis without aggravating it.
At my age (48), I tend to feel the high repetition of calisthenics workouts or high miles of running in the knees and elbows. The list below has been helpful over the years. Find the combination of options that work best for you and your nagging pain, if professional help from the doctor or physical therapist has failed to work for you.
Warmup Better – If you are stuck with a nagging injury such as tendonitis in a joint, make sure to warmup well. Dress warm and get the blood flowing in the area for 10-15 minutes. Dynamic Stretches are great for getting the body and the joints ready for movement. Even a few minutes of running will start to reduce the immediate pain of knee, ITB, and plantar fasciitis for the short term, but the pain will set in once you are finished running or exercising. This is when you need to really focus on reducing the pain and inflammation. Go straight to the ice or heat. Rest, Ice, and Motrin – Sometimes this option is the best for immediate trauma and pain. Try to reduce repetitions, mileage, and time in training if possible. If not, make sure you end the day with ice and some type of anti-inflammatory medication. Remember RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Some may disagree but evidence still proves RICE is effective in minor pain control. Good Foods for Healing – Avoid foods that cause inflammation and focus on foods and drinks that help relieve inflammation. For a short list, avoid sugars, sodas, high sodium, fried foods and other processed foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables such as salads with green leafy lettuce, tomatoes, spinach. Top it with tuna fish or salmon and nuts you have an outstanding anti-inflammation meal. Drink water too! Additional Options – Foods may be many people's first option, but there are other ways to get the inflammation reducing benefits from vitamins and supplements. Omega 3 capsules are the leading option, but consider other powders and pills such as Resveratrol. Stretch, Foam roller, Massage the Pain Away – Becoming more flexible through a daily stretching routine is smart for not only immediate pain, but for reducing the chances of future injuries related to tendonitis of various joints. The Foam Roller and Myofascial Release / Massage techniques have been invaluable for helping with the pain in the back, hips, ITB, hamstrings, shins, and feet. But, I recently have been getting some elbow aggravation (bicep tendon) typically from pull-ups or rope climbs. I started to decrease my repetitions of pull-ups and change them into rows or bicep curls and added some other gripping exercises like the rice bucket to work the forearms. The grip exercises warm up the forearms and helps with some tendon pain in the elbow. Sleeves or Straps – The use of straps or sleeves for the forearm, knees, or wrists are helpful for allowing the user to keep moving while minimizing pain. Combat Ready Tape – Kinesiology Tape or KT tape with other brands like Rock Tape actually can help you get through minor nagging pain and still be able to perform. You will see many athletes using this in nearly every sport with decent success. The Combat Read Tape brand comes in ready-made, pre-cut pieces of tape designed for every joint in the body. (Tape the Elbow Pictured)
As you can see, there are many ways to help you get over nagging, overuse injuries if rest and medical treatment is not an option. In fact, you should not pick just one. Try as many as you can, especially your intake food and hydration. You might be doing everything right, but eating poorly sabotages your efforts. However, the number one recommendation is to always see a medical professional and rest the joint.