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Dealing with "itis" (Inflammation)

Aug 17, 2007
You may know someone who has been of victim of it. You may have had it yourself. In fact many athletes at sometime during their careers suffer from this dreaded problem. What we are talking about is the itis!

Itis = Inflammation

That is: tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis or a host of other members of the itis family. Where there is itis there is inflammation. The members of the itis family are named after the involved tissue. Let's look at a couple of members of the itis family in detail.


Tendonitis is an inflammation of tendons. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons do not have a very good blood supply so when injured they do not heal very well. Tendons can take a lot of pulling force. If you were to pull on a tendon in a straight line the muscle would become injured before the tendon. The problem with tendons is that they do not take forces at angles very well.

Your body has many small bony "pulleys" that tendons run over. These pulleys produce angular forces on tendons. It is these angular forces that can produce tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs from too much force going through a muscle-tendon system. There are two ways this can happen. A large force over a short period of time or smaller forces over longer periods of time can result in tendonitis.

Tendonitis can develop in any tendon but some tendons are more prone to tendonitis. One such site is in the wrist. Repetitive gripping or keyboarding can cause tendonitis that leads to carpal tunnel syndrom. Another site is at the Achilles tendon in the back of the lower leg. Again, overuse can be the main cause of achilles tendonitis. I have seen a good deal of such cases in dancers and runners.


Bursitis is another member of the itis family. Bursa are small fluid-filled sacs located around joints to reduce friction. These can also become inflamed. Many times I see tendonitis and bursitis together.

Avoiding Tendonitis and Bursitis

Atheletes can avoid tendonitis and bursitis by following a few easy guidelines. First of all, always warm up before you exercise. Remember those tendons do not have a very good blood supply. Warming up increases the blood supply to muscles and tendons. Reducing friction from footwear will help decrease the angular forces. Be careful not to over train. Tired, stiff and sore muscles contribute to tendonitis. Stretching your calf muscle before you work out will also help to reduce achilles tendonitis.

Avoiding Tendonitis and Bursitis

1. Always warm-up properly.
2. Reduce friction in footwear by using pads, lamb's wool and properly fitting footwear.
3. Watch for signs of overtraining such as fatigue, muscle and joint soreness.
4. Stretch the calf muscle when not in your footwear.

Tendonitis and bursitis are both treated by reducing inflammation and reducing the force through the tendon. Sometimes physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound are used to help the tendon heal. Tendonitis also responds well to stretching of the muscle connected to the tendon. Usually anti-inflammatory medications are recommended. I prefer to use natural anti-inflammatories such as herbal bioflavinoids as there are virtually no side-effects.


1. Reduce force through tendon by modifying activities.
2. Reduce inflammation with anti-inflammatory substances.
3. Stretch the muscle connected to the tendon.
4. Get professional help early.

My advice to anyone who may think they have tendonitis or any other member of the itis family is to catch it early under the guidance of a health care professional. If caught early these problems heal much faster, better and are much less likely to occur.
About the Author
Dr. Bruce Forciea is an author, educator and chiropractor. His new book "Unlocking the Healing Code" presents a new paradigm for healing. His site:
contains more information, free newsletter, free guided imagery download and New Age music downloads.
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