Recognizing the Signs of Tendonitis and How to Treat it

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Common Symptoms of Tendonitis

Feb 1, 2015

Tendonitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons, which are the thick cords that join muscles and bones together. When tendons become irritated or begin to breakdown, this causes inflammation and swelling that can result in tendonitis.

Tendonitis is a type of tendinopathy which is a disease of the tendon. A tendon is a tough band of fibrous tissue that works together with the muscle to cause movement. Tendons are found in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. However, tendonitis typically affects the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.

There are certain types of tendonitis based on the area that is affected. For example, Achilles tendonitis is an injury involving the Achilles tendon. Golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, pitcher’s shoulder, and tennis elbow are other types of common tendonitis.

There are many causes of tendonitis and each will differ based on what part of the body is affected.

Repetitive and Overuse Injuries: Tendonitis most frequently occurs as the result of the overuse of a specific part of the body. When you perform the same repetitive actions over and over again, the tendons becomes worn out and inflamed. This can be caused by sports, jobs, or even hobbies. Examples of repetitive and overuse injuries include throwing a baseball, swinging a tennis racquet, or frequently reaching overhead.

Sudden and Intense Injuries: If you experience a sudden, intense injury, like a fall or collision, you may develop tendonitis.

While the most common causes of tendonitis include sudden injury and repetitive and overuse injuries, there are other ways that tendonitis can occur. The elderly population is susceptible to developing tendonitis because tendons lose their elasticity as you age. People who have diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are also more prone to tendonitis.

In some cases, symptoms of tendonitis come on suddenly, while others develop slowly over time. The following symptoms are signs that you may be dealing with tendonitis:

  • The area with tendonitis is tender to the touch.
  • The pain worsens during movement.
  • You’re experiencing the most pain at night
  • You describe your pain as a dull ache.
  • Your tendon feels like it’s crackling or grating as it moves.
  • The affected area is hot and red.
  • A lump develops along the tendon.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of tendonitis, it’s important to see your doctor. An inflamed tendon is more susceptible to serious damage such as a rupture. Your physician will perform a physical examination to evaluate your tendon and have X-rays taken.

It’s crucial to reduce inflammation in order to treat the pain caused by tendonitis. Your physician will suggest rest or immobilization of the affected area, application of hot or cold compresses, steroid injections, or nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen in order to reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical therapy is another treatment method that is effective in reducing the pain and swelling of tendonitis. Certain stretches that strengthen muscles and tendons can also help tendons begin to heal and function properly again.

You don’t have to deal with your tendonitis any longer. See your orthopaedic physician for relief and get back to your daily activities.

If you’re planning on having orthopaedic surgery, download our e-book, How to Choose an Orthopaedic Surgeon. This educational guide will equip you with all you need to know when looking for a reputable orthopaedic surgeon.