Tendinitis and Gluten


I woke up on a Sunday, about 3 weeks ago, with a pain in my foot. “Huh. I must have stepped on a rock,” was the thought that went through my mind. I didn’t give it any more thought until 2 days later, about 2 miles into my 5 mile run. “Definitely not a rock. This could be a problem.”
Tendinitis literally means inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are the fibrous bands of connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tendon), tendons are made primarily of collagen. Tendon size is biologically determined and plays a role in potential success for different sports. For instance, bodybuilders typically have shorter tendons and longer muscles, while runners have longer achilles tendons and shorter calf muscles. Tendons are susceptible to a variety of injuries, such as rupture, where the tendon breaks, and tendinitis, where the tendon becomes irritated from a trauma, such as falling, or repetitive stress. The tendinitis in my foot relates back to an ankle sprain 3 years ago. When it healed, my foot strike became slightly different, and when I switched to running in Vibrams 4 months ago, the difference in foot strike became more pronounced. The interosseous muscles in my foot suffered from multiple micro traumas that eventually caused an inflammatory response.
The problem with injuries such as tendinitis is that while the tissue will heal with ice, massage, and rest, it will never be quite the same as it was before the injury. This makes not only the previously injured muscle more susceptible to injury, but the surrounding structures also become more injury prone. A well rounded strength and flexibility program is very important to reduce the the chance of future injuries. If the injury happened in the lower extremity, it can also be useful to have a professional look at your gait. This will give you feedback on potential muscle imbalances and areas you might need to work on to maintain joint and muscle health.
Recently, I was asked to explain what gluten was. I realized I didn’t know much about gluten, other than that it’s found in wheat products, and even that I wasn’t 100% sure about. After a bit of research, I came to the following conclusions:
• Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats
• Gluten cannot be completely removed from any wheat products
• Gluten makes it possible for bread to rise and for bread to go stale
• Gluten can be used as an additive to give foods more “substance”
Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, has begun receiving attention in recent years. Signs and symptoms of celiac disease, according to http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/celiac-disease, include weight loss, fluid retention, diarrhea, severe skin rash, musculoskeletal problems, and anemia. If you suspect you could be gluten intolerant, contact your doctor.
Check out my first video in a three part series on strong center, healthy back. As always, if you have any fitness questions you would like answered, contact me.
Yours in health and wellness,
Jenn