Recognizing tendo & 7 ways to begin the healing process

Recognizing an acute injury like Tendonitis

It’s about that time again where we hit the ground running a little too hard and can develop some acute injuries. This blog will be focused on the classic wrist tendo (that can occur in the shovel or tree hand), but the application can be for any acute injury like elbow, shoulder, knee, ankle. Please Read THIS BLOG for more in depth information about tendonitis of the thumb & wrist.

We use the acronym SHARP to help up determine an acute injury:

S – swelling

H – heat

A – altered function

R – redness

P – pain

I’m going to add Creaking to this list too. so C-SHARP. A tell tale sign of classic tendo has some creaking of various amounts. Basically, the creaking is swelling in and around the injured area, and when you move the joint, the swelling moves around causing a creaking sensation.

What to do when you experience pain or tendo?

If you think you have tendonitis in the wrist or thumb, stop planting immediately! These are the next steps guidelines to start your rehab process as soon as the injury occurs:

1. Immobilize the thumb & wrist – Use a tensor or a brace. But the key here is to

make sure the THUMB is also immobilized (Remember, classic tendo are thumb tendons that also cross the wrist – Read more about that here).

2. Compression – tensor bandage. Start at your thumb and gently put on the bandage so that it moves the swelling towards your elbow. Using a tensor will also help immobilize the thumb and wrist. Please do not put this on tight, it already has compressive abilities, just a gentle wrap will accomplish what we are looking for. Do not sleep with a tensor on.

3. Elevate – Above your heart, lets use gravity. Think of swelling as fluid. You want to get that fluid back into your body so your body can get rid of it, you don’t want it hanging out in the wrist for too long (although swelling is good, we need this process for healing). If you are laying down, elevated your elbow above your heart, and your wrist above your elbow, forming a direct line from the injury to your body. If you are standing or sitting, same rules, elbow up and wrist above elbow. Holding the “oh shit handle” in the truck is a good way to think of this.

4. Rest – You have an injury, your body is prioritizing healing it. You may be tired and that is expected, as your body need to rest so that it can do its thing and heal you up!

5. Stay hydrated & eat well – your body needs water to move nutrients and cells around for injury healing. Specifically for tendo, it helps keep the tendons lubricated and all tendons, muscles and fascia to be able to slide and glide against each other as you move. Staying hydrated is super key in preventing further injury, but also in healing the current one.

6. No alcohol & other drugs – self explanatory, but it dehydrates you and delays healing, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve! So if you are injured and missing work, please refrain from partying on night off if you want to get back on the block.

7. Keep moving your body – get your heart rate up! Your legs still work, go on a hike or walk. Just keep the thumb and wrist immobilized. Increasing your heart rate will increase circulation, which will be good to help decrease the swelling and cycle through the water and cells to help the injury. Also good for mental health to keep moving your body!


When to contact a professional?

I’d like to preface this with everyone heals from an injury at different paces. It really depends on the person. What stage of healing/injury are you in? Did you keep planting through pain, possibly causing more damage? How hydrated are you? How good is your immune system? Are you setting yourself up for success by: eating well, getting good sleep, staying warm, staying active and following the guidelines?

If after 4 days, the SHARP symptoms are decreasing and the creaking is decreasing, continue on this path! You are healing the injury! Continue until all symptoms are completely gone. And I like to take an extra day or 2 just to make sure. I always say it’s better to take a few days now, than to prolong the injury and/or getting hurt again and possibly have more time off work. Take the time now and make sure.

If after 4 days and the SHARP symptoms are not improving, please refer back to this guideline and make it your full time job. If you are not doing the above, you will not see improvement.

Contact a professional if you have done the above for at least a shift (4 days) and it is not getting better. Remember, healing takes time, and every body is different.

Happy Planting!

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