Some people, when experiencing a certain type of pain, begin an endless guessing game, trying to figure out what’s causing the discomfort. Tendonitis (also called Tendinitis) is one of the most common ailments and can occur in many different parts of the body. The aim of this blog is to provide readers with an overview of Tendonitis, and tips on how to treat it properly.
What is Tendonitis?
Muscles are connected to bones by tissue called tendons. When the connective tissue becomes irritated, inflamed, or suffers small tears, the medical term for the condition is tendonitis. Because tendons are located throughout the body, a patient could experience symptoms in several different areas: shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, the base of your thumb, or Achilles heel.
There are plenty of activities that can cause tendonitis, yet all of them have the same common denominator: overuse. Constantly doing the same repetitive motion places a lot of stress on the tendons. This can happen with work duties or hobbies, such as:
- Assembly line work
- Sports such as running, tennis, soccer, baseball, swimming, golf, etc
It could also be caused by trauma, sudden movements, or underlying medical conditions such as:
Symptoms are specific to the affected area. However, it’s important to note that depending on where the injury is located, pain could radiate to other parts of the body (e.g. rotator cuff tendonitis in the shoulder could cause pain to shoot down the arm). Symptoms of tendonitis include:
- Mild swelling
- Skin feels warm to the touch
- Limited range of motion
Tendonitis Risk Factors
In addition to repetitive movements, the following factors could increase the likelihood of developing tendonitis:
- Working with tools that vibrate
- Repetitive overhead reaching
- Lifting loads that are too heavy
- A sudden increase in activity level
- Age: Tendons become less flexible as we age
- Obesity: Excessive weight places a lot of stress on joints
- Bone spurs
Complications of tendonitis include the formation of scar tissue, decreased joint mobility, or tendon rupture (if the patient doesn’t take a rest from the activity that caused the tendonitis).
When making a diagnosis, your medical provider will ask plenty of questions about your lifestyle and daily activities. This will help narrow down the cause of discomfort: e.g. whether you need blood testing for a potential underlying medical condition, or if the condition was caused by force or repetitive movement.
Tendonitis is often cured with conservative treatment such as anti-inflammatory medications, rest from the activity, icing the affected area, immobilizing the joint with a brace or splint, or steroid injections. If the patient is suffering from patellar tendonitis, the doctor may recommend changing the athletic shoes.
Can Tendonitis Heal on Its Own?
While it is possible for tendonitis to go away on its own with prolonged rest after injury, it is likely that the condition will return once the patient returns to the activity that caused it. Furthermore, the older the patient, the longer it will take to recover, in general.
A person who is required to do the same repetitive motion (either for work, hobby, or sport) should spend some time learning the proper technique to perform those movements. The following are a few suggestions to lower the chance of developing tendonitis:
- Properly stretch before exercise
- Weight train: Stronger muscles ease the stress on joints and tendons
- Increase activity levels and intensity gradually
- Cross-training: Alternate your sport of choice to give your muscles and tendons a break from repetitive motions
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to tendonitis, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.