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nikipedia's avatar

Will anything bad happen if I ignore tendinitis-like injuries?

Asked by nikipedia (27300 points ) January 26th, 2010

I have what I am pretty sure is a tendinitis-like injury. This is the third time this has happened (all involving different tendons in my feet!)

I understand this is an overuse injury and I should just take it easy. But hypothetically, if I just ignored the pain and kept running on it, am I really risking any more serious damage, or am I just prolonging the pain?

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19 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m pretty sure you can tear your tendons.

janbb's avatar

I also think you’re taking a risk of incurring more serious, long lasting problems. It’s frustrating to have to stop or curtail exercise, but you probably should.

andrew's avatar

Horrible, horrible, long-lasting aching pain. As in chronic pain. You’re also at much higher risk of turning an ankle or other foot injury.

I turned my ankle, tore the ligaments on the inside of my ankle, and was an idiot and walked all over San Francisco and danced on it the next day. It took 2 years for the swelling to go down.

Worst case situation: cankles. Think about it.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir , if you ignore it the condition can only get worse. You might even make it so bad that surgery might be required. Let it rest and heal. I ignored pain in my right shoulder and pressed on, ultimately having two operations to repair the damage and an almost useless right arm for over a year.

nikipedia's avatar

@andrew: Gah. The specter of cankles is almost enough to stop me.

But like, I’m thinking there has to be a huge difference between torn ligaments and inflamed tendons, right?

andrew's avatar

@nikipedia I had tendonitis in my wrist that I ignored—until I had to start sleeping with wrist braces because the pain was so bad.

You will not feel better. You won’t.

Feet are doubly worse because unless you’re not ambulatory, you can’t rest them.

janbb's avatar

My son also had chronic tendonitis in his wrists which got much worse when he ignored it and didn’t rest them.

marinelife's avatar

“Avoiding foot pain in advance is the best way to prevent expensive surgeries later on. Despite the fact that many people ignore foot pain for long periods, pretending that the pain isn’t serious or wishing it would fix itself are inappropriate responses to the foot pain dilemma.”

“Source: Article Snatch”:

“Achilles tendonitis is the bane of many runners. You should not allow this to turn into a chronic and troubling malady leading to moans about how it will never end, contributing to roadsides strewn with air cushioned clad runners, all with ice packs attached to their heels. First, we will review some basic information about the achilles tendon. ”

Dr. Stepehn Pribaut’s sports pages

“The biggest cause of chronic Achilles tendonitis is ignoring early warning signs and pushing through pain. If the Achilles tendon is sore, or aches, you need to pay attention and rest it immediately.”

About Sports Medicine

“Mild cases of tendonitis can be cured with rest and some medications to reduce the pain and inflammation. Some preventive measures are also required to reduce the possibilities of future development oftendonitis. However,
in severe cases surgery may be required to repair the rupture of the tendon. Over the years tendonitis can become chronic which lead to the rupture of a tendon. In the worst case tendonitis can cause permanent damage to the tendon tissues.”

Sqidoo: All About Tendinitis

philosopher's avatar

See a Doctor.

YARNLADY's avatar

yes, a lot of bad things will happy. See you doctor, and quite ignoring it. Pain occurs for the purpose of identifying problems in the body and should not be ignored. My Father In Law spent many years in a wheel chair, in pain, because he refused to wear proper shoes, and ignored the pain messages that were sent to his brain, and it was all unnecessary.

nikipedia's avatar

@YARNLADY: This would be the third time I’ve been to the doctor for tendinitis, and every time they just tell me to take it easy. Although last time the doc said if I really wanted to, I could run my upcoming race (about three weeks away) and then take it easy. Which makes me think it’s just not that serious….

andrew's avatar

@nikipedia If you needed to perform on it, then yes, you could. You’d load up on ibuprofen, or, if you were a professional, get a cortisone shot.

But that still is a far cry from training on an injured foot—it’s only going to get worse. Trust me.

marinelife's avatar

@nikipedia My small set of highlights including from sports medicine clinics were a tiny bit of the information that is out there—all saying the same thing. Do not ignore tendinitis.

You are too smart to just ignore something (because you wish it weren’t so). Where are your logic and brains now?

If you haven’t gotten a good answer from the doctor, seek another doctor. Probably a sports medicine clinic would be a good choice.

nikipedia's avatar

Okay. I have been good and stayed off it. But THIS BLOWS I REALLY WANT TO BE RUNNING RIGHT NOW.

marinelife's avatar

@nikipedia I totally understand. I have been limping on my bad knee for two months. I was a complete idiot and did not go to an orthopedist until this past week. When she gave me a shot that gave me immediate relief, but I still can’t walk right, because I was limping so long my muscles have all shortened.

She told me I have to do these exercises (which hurt like a bitch) or I will have a permanent limp! I really screwed myself by not going to the doctor sooner.

YARNLADY's avatar

@nikipedia *** YAY *** Good choice *** YAY ***

sushiman1111's avatar

Tendonitis is a condition of inflammation (just like any “itis”) and should not recur, or last more than about two weeks. If you have chronic pain, or recurring pain, then it is far more likely that you have tendonosis, which is an actual degeneration of the tendon. Left untreated, you may eventually need surgery.

The treatments for the two are very different. If you’re resting, icing, taking NSAIDs (the standard practice) and you have inflammation (i.e., tendonitis), then you will almost certainly get better. Conversely, if you’re doing this and don’t get better it’s a pretty good indicator that you don’t have tendonitis.

Doctors aren’t much help here, as most will diagnose any kind of tendon pain as “tendonitis”. But if the area isn’t red, or swollen, or hot to the touch, how can it be inflamed? Answer: it’s not, and your doctor is wrong. (Yes, this happens a lot with tendons.)

For more info on this subject, try looking at the Target Tendonitis blog. It has a lot of posts on various tendon pain problems, as well as a good ebook you can order if you want.

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