Remember to listen to your body! Always remain aware and focused as you exercise. It is hard to do, I know - but the more in tune you are, the less risk of injury.
Here is some info on a very common complaint:
A tendon is the end part of a muscle that attaches the muscle to the bone. Our muscles are elastic and soft but then taper off at the end to form a more dense, stiff tendon. While this density makes the tendons stronger, the lack of elasticity of the tendon and the constant pulling on its attachment to the bone with movement, makes it much more susceptible to a low level of tearing. This tearing will produce the inflammation and irritation known as tendonitis. Tendonitis is usually seen after excessive repetitive movement with which the tendon gradually becomes tighter until the fibers start to tear.
These are the most likely places you'll experience tendonitis:
6. Knee joint
The most common place for tendonitis to occur is in the arms (biceps, elbows and triceps).
Tendonitis is often ignored because it starts off with only a slight pain and stiffness in the affected area. We write this off to a particularly hard work out, or think back to see that we have perhaps overused the area in our daily activities. Usually, the pain will get worse over time. After you have finished your workout the pain will be the worst, with stiffness and tightness in the area the following day. If the pain is in a joint, you may have trouble extending the joint fully. It is also common to feel the pain when the affected area is being used.
If the pain occurs after every workout and you can feel it on rest days it's best to go a see a doctor (preferably a sports doctor). If tendonitis goes untreated for too long it may become permanent. Even if you are unsure, you should consult a doctor. You may have to stop working the muscle for a few weeks but that's much better than having a permanent injury!
With the correct care for the area, the pain in the tendon should lessen over 3-4 weeks, but it should be noted that the healing of the area continues and doesn't even peak until at least 6 weeks following the initial injury. This is due to scar tissue formation, which initially acts like the glue to bond the tissue back together. Scar tissue will continue to form past 6 weeks in some cases and as long as a year in severe cases. After 6 months this condition is considered chronic and much more difficult to treat. The initial approach is to support and protect the tendons by bracing any areas of the tendon that are being pulled on during use. It is important to loosen up the tendon, lessen the pain, and minimize any inflammation.
This can be done with the use of ice and anti-inflammatory agents like BROMELAIN (see previous post). These treatments can reduce swelling, relieve pain and dilate the blood vessels. Cortisone injections can reduce inflammation, but unfortunately are very caustic and can cause a weakening of the tendon structure and create more scar tissue.
After the scar tissue has begun to accumulate, it's important to perform procedures that break down the scar tissue in the tendon tissue, so as to let the tendon and muscle regain normal flexibility and lessen the chance of further injury. The tendon is still very fragile so in the initial stages only light stretching can be performed. Then, move on to a daily routine of light exercises and stretching depending on the tendon soreness and pain.
The affected area will be one to watch from now on. Pay close attention and back off from exercising the area when you feel you need to.