Bursitis and calcific tendonitis are painful conditions that result from inflammation around the joints and tendons. Although treatment consists of rest, medication and physical therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet may help too. Find out what foods to avoid with calcific tendonitis, bursitis or both.
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To speed up healing from bursitis and tendonitis, avoid sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods, which have been shown to increase inflammation. The Mediterranean diet has been proven effective against inflammatory conditions, so give it a try.
What Causes Tendonitis and Bursitis?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, tendonitis is considered an overuse injury. Whether caused by too many tennis matches or too much time spent gardening or raking, it results in pain and inflammation in an area of your body, like the shoulder or elbow. This type of injury is seen in both women and men and most often occurs between the ages of 40 and 60.
Treatment generally involves anti-inflammatory medications, including corticosteroid injections as needed. It's also recommended that people with tendonitis undergo physical therapy to maintain their range of motion and rebuild strength.
Read more: 11 Vitamins for Healthy Ligaments and Tendons
As described by Harvard Health Publishing, bursitis results from inflammation of the bursa — a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and protects your joints. Although the shoulder is a common site of injury, many people also get bursitis in their hips, elbows or ankles. Treatment for bursitis is similar to that for tendonitis, with rest, anti-inflammatory medications and therapeutic exercises.
As you can see, both of these conditions cause pain and inflammation. While medication helps, eating well can have a significant impact.
Foods to Avoid With Calcific Tendonitis
It sounds cliché but it's true: You are what you eat. If you have inflammation, a healthy diet can help you heal faster and decrease the pain.
To begin with, avoiding excess sugar is one of the most important ways to stop inflammation. A small study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2015 has found that subjects who drank just one can of sugary soda per day for six months had higher levels of uric acid. The fructose in soft drinks may increase uric acid levels, which in turn, induces low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance.
The Arthritis Foundation states that saturated fats — found in foods like pizza, cheese, red meat and pasta — trigger inflammation too. It recommends avoiding these food products:
- Trans fats (doughnuts, cookies and stick margarine)
- Omega-6 fatty acids (mayonnaise and corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut and vegetable oils)
- Refined carbs (french fries and white bread)
- MSG (found in some Asian foods, such as bottled sauces, and processed foods)
- Aspartame (diet soda and candy)
- Alcohol (beer, wine and liquor)
Additionally, you may have heard about treating calcific tendonitis with apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, the Arthritis Foundation reports that research has not shown this to be an effective treatment for inflammation.
Foods That Decrease Inflammation
You know what foods to avoid with calcific tendonitis or bursitis, but what should you eat? An August 2019 study in the journal Nutrients suggests that a traditional Mediterranean diet may help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
Therefore, consider stocking your kitchen with the following anti-inflammatory foods:
- Fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
- Fruits, such as cherries, strawberries and other berries
- Whole grains
- Extra virgin olive oil
Turmeric may reduce inflammation as well. An October 2017 article in Foods noted the multiple health benefits of curcumin, a micronutrient found in this spice. This antioxidant has been found to be effective in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, arthritis, exercise-induced muscle soreness, metabolic disorders, degenerative eye diseases and even anxiety. You may use turmeric powder as a supplement or add a big dash of it to curries, soups and other dishes.
Read more: Benefits and Uses of Turmeric Powder
Although apple cider vinegar won't help with tendonitis, Harvard Health Publishing says that coffee might work. You can now enjoy your morning cup of joe knowing that it's full of polyphenols and anti-inflammatory compounds. Plus, as most people would agree, coffee is much tastier than apple cider vinegar.
- Harvard Health: "Ouch! Shoulder Pain and How To Treat It"
- Arthritis Foundation: "8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation"
- Nutrients: "A Traditional Mediterranean Diet Effectively Reduces Inflammation and Improves Cardiovascular Health"
- Foods: "Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health"
- Harvard Health: "Foods That Fight Inflammation"
- Arthritis Foundation: "Anti-Inflammatory Food Myths"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Consumption of Sucrose-Sweetened Soft Drinks Increases Plasma Levels of Uric Acid In Overweight and Obese Subjects: A 6-Month Randomised Controlled Trial"