Skip to main content

Tendinitis and Bursitis: Staying Active While Healing

  • Published: 2016-03-07 (Revised/Updated 2018-04-14) : Author: Melissa Chefec : Contact: 1 (203) 968-6625
  • Synopsis: Expert advice and tips from Physical Therapy specialist on staying active while healing from Tendinitis or Bursitis and avoiding further injury.

Quote: "Runners with poor biomechanical patterns may be susceptible to tendinitis in the the ankle or bursitis in the hip. Some people develop both tendinitis and bursitis at once."

Main Document

Expert advice and tips from Physical Therapy specialist John Connolly with Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training on staying active while healing and avoiding further injury.

A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts: muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursae are found throughout the body. Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed (redness and increased fluid in the bursa).

Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Bursitis and tendinitis are both common conditions that involve inflammation of the soft tissue around muscles and bones, most often in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle. Causes; Tendinitis is most often the result of a repetitive injury or motion in the affected area, and Bursitis is commonly caused by overuse or direct trauma to a joint.

Despite names like Tennis Elbow, Swimmer's Shoulder and Jumper's Knee, bursitis and tendinitis are conditions that strike average Joes as well as serious athletes, says John Connolly, a licensed physical therapist at Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training. They're the most common type of repetitive motion injury, he explains, caused by an over-and-over-again movement - running, throwing a baseball, swinging a golf club - that puts strain on soft tissues and results in pain and inflammation. Repetitive motion injuries represent more than half of all the athletic-related injuries that send Americans to the doctor each year.

Tendinitis and bursitis are inflammatory conditions (hence the term "itis" in their names), Connolly says.

"Tendinitis and bursitis are often caused by biomechanical dysfunction in the body," he explains. For example, someone with a scapular (shoulder blade) dysfunction would be vulnerable to tendinitis of the rotator cuff or bursitis in the bursa of the shoulder joint, he explains. Runners with poor biomechanical patterns may be susceptible to tendinitis in the the ankle or bursitis in the hip. Some people develop both tendinitis and bursitis at once.

Advice for Treatment

The standard advice for treating tendinitis and/or bursitis is rest, Connolly says.

"You must do two things if you want to get rid of this kind of injury," he says. "One, stop performing the motion that's causing the damage to your tissues. And two, give those tissues time to heal." But for many people - pro athletes as well as average Joes (devoted runners or gym junkies) - "rest" can be a four-letter word.

Happily, Connolly says, rest isn't an all-or-nothing proposition.

Someone with bursitis or tendinitis can exercise - if they do so correctly. "Individuals can work around an injury to avoid further aggravating it." In addition, he says, a credentialed exercise professional or physical therapist can often recommend exercises that can help correct the condition.

Tips for Staying Healthy and Avoiding Further Injury

The best exercises, he says, are those that will correct any biomechanical dysfunction without aggravating the condition. Thus, someone with shoulder tendinitis or bursitis should be able to run or bike for a cardiovascular workout but should probably avoid swimming. On the other hand, a runner with Achilles Tendinitis would benefit swimming (or biking).

To help correct biomechanical problems in a shoulder, hip or other area, a physical therapist would likely recommend specific exercises to strengthen weak stabilizing muscles in the injured area and to stretch muscle groups that may be tight.

Looking ahead, Connolly says, a physical therapist can offer specific advice regarding getting back to one's regular routine - without repeating the original injury.

"Until an individual has eliminated his or her pain and corrected any biomechanical faults, I typically advise against resuming the activity that contributed to the condition in the first place," he says. "This gives the body the opportunity to heal."

Additionally, he recommends adding a "Maintenance Routine" of small, single-joint exercises that target small stabilizing muscles, performed once or twice a week, to be performed in conjunction with a patient's regular workouts.

"By targeting these areas, we can improve a patient's biomechanics and ensure that they're moving correctly during other modes of exercise," he explains.

John Connelly, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a licensed Physical Therapist with Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training. He has a Board Certification as an Orthopedic Specialist in Physical Therapy. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and a Level 1 Sports Performance Coach (USA Weightlifting).


• Have your say! Add your comment or discuss this article on our FaceBook Page.

Similar Topics

1 : Dripping Candle Wax Bone Disease (Melorheostosis) Cause Solved : NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
2 : Research Helps Explain Why People Experience Muscle Loss in Old Age : The Physiological Society.
3 : Tendinitis and Bursitis: Staying Active While Healing : Melissa Chefec.
4 : Hip Impingement: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment : Thomas C. Weiss.
5 : Difference Between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome : Disabled World.
From our Bones & Joints - Conditions section - Full List (73 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.

Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.

List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.

Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.

1 : 20 New Episodes of Letters to Lynette with Dr. Lynette Louise to Air on The Autism Channel in 2018
2 : Turnstone Center Designated as Official Paralympic Training Site by US Olympic Committee
3 : Help Your Child in School by Adding Language to The Math
4 : 50% of Retirees Saw Little or No COLA Increase in Net 2018 Social Security Benefits
5 : Turnstone Endeavor Games Concludes with National Records Broken
6 : Spinning in Circles and Learning From Myself by Tsara Shelton
7 : St. Louis HELP Medical Equipment Donation Drive Generates Record-Breaking Results
8 : People Who Snore Suffer from Palate Nerve and Muscle Damage

Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™