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Foods That Cause Tendonitis

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Foods That Cause Tendonitis
A piece of chocolate cake with raspberries and cream. Photo Credit: Rick Grant/iStock/Getty Images

Tendonitis is a painful swelling in a tendon and surrounding tissues, and common examples of this overuse injury include tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis in runners and wrist tendinitis from typing. Causes may be from poorly designed workspaces, overtraining or bad athletic technique, but some foods may increase your likelihood of tendonitis because it is an inflammatory disease. A healthy diet can lower your inflammation.

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Fatty Meats

Fatty meats and full-fat dairy products may increase your risk for tendonitis because of their high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which raise your levels of chronic inflammation, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Reduce your intake of beef and pork with visible fat, dark-meat poultry with the skin and whole milk; instead, choose lean proteins, such as chicken breast, beans or egg whites, and low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt. Seafood may further reduce your risk for tendonitis because of its long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Caloric Beverages

Obesity is a risk factor for tendonitis because it increases stress on your joints. Caloric beverages can lead to weight gain because their calories are not very filling compared to calories from solid foods. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sugary fruit drinks, regular soft drinks, energy drinks and sports beverages, are among the top sources of calories in the typical American diet, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Refined Grains

Eating too many refined grains could potentially lead to tendonitis because of their high glycemic index, which means they can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels after you eat them. A high-glycemic diet can increase your inflammation and risk for tendonitis and also lead to weight gain and diabetes. Instead of white bread, white pasta and refined cereals, choose whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, barley or brown rice.


Candies and baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, pastries, and ice cream, may increase your risk for tendonitis because they are sources of empty calories. A risk of eating high-calorie foods that do not contain many essential nutrients is that you may gain unwanted weight. Also, these foods may take the place of healthy foods that contribute anti-inflammatory nutrients to your diet. For example, anti-inflammatory nutrients in fruits and vegetables include vitamin C, carotenoids and dietary fiber.

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