Tendonitis is one of the most common forms of repetitive strain injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tendonitis causes around 70,000 people to miss work per year.
Tendonitis, or tendon swelling or inflammation, is a common problem that can occur as a result of an injury or an underlying condition. This blog will look at what tendonitis is, what causes it, and how you can treat it.
What Does Tendonitis Refer To?
Tendonitis is a condition that results when the tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones, become inflamed. This can cause pain, stiffness, and weakness in the affected area. Although it can happen anywhere on the body, tendonitis most frequently affects the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees.
Tendonitis is usually caused by overuse of the affected joint. This can happen from performing repetitive tasks at work like typing or using a mouse, as well as from engaging in sports. Treatment for tendonitis typically involves rest, ice, and over-the-counter medication. In severe cases, physical therapy may be necessary.
Major Causes of Tendonitis
Tendonitis is a common condition that several different things can cause. Some of the most common causes of tendonitis include:
1. Muscle Overuse
One of the major causes of tendonitis is overuse. This can happen when you repeatedly use the same muscle group without giving them time to rest and recover. This can lead to the tendons becoming inflamed and irritated, causing pain and discomfort.
2. Acute Trauma or Injury
Another major cause of tendonitis is acute trauma or injury. This can happen if you suddenly put too much strain on the tendon, for example, during a fall or an accident. This can cause the tendon to tear or rupture, leading to inflammation and pain.
3. Pre-Existing Condition Such as Arthritis
Your risk of developing tendonitis may also rise if you already have a pre-existing condition like rheumatoid arthritis. This is because conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can damage the tendons, making them more susceptible to inflammation.
4. Exposure to cold
This is more common among people who work outdoors in cold weather. The cold can cause the tendons to become inflamed since, during the cold, it becomes difficult for the blood to circulate to our extremities, causing pain and inflammation.
Common Symptoms of Tendonitis
Tendonitis is a condition that results when the tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones, become inflamed. It is a common injury, especially among athletes. The most common symptoms of tendonitis are pain and stiffness in the affected area. Other symptoms may include swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected area. Tendonitis can occur in any of the body’s joints but is most common in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and knee.
Treatment Options Available for Tendonitis
You may be dealing with tendonitis if you’re experiencing pain and inflammation in your tendons. This condition is relatively common, especially among athletes. Given below are some of the treatment options available for tendonitis:
1. Rest and ice
Resting is always a good place to start. Hence, taking a break from physical activity causing tendonitis pain is necessary. Rest will give your body a chance to heal on its own. Additionally, ice can also be very helpful in reducing inflammation and pain at the site. Just apply an ice pack to the affected area for 25–30 minutes at a time, 2–3 times a day.
2. Compression and Elevation
Compression can help stabilize the area and reduce swelling. Use an elastic bandage or wrap to apply gentle compression. Elevation can also help reduce swelling. Prop up the affected limb on a pillow or other support.
3. Painkillers and other OTC Medication
There are also a number of over-the-counter medications that can help with pain and inflammation. These include ibuprofen and naproxen; however, you may need a stronger prescription medication if you’re dealing with severe pain. In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended. This can help reduce inflammation and pain.
4. Physical Therapy and Surgery
If these conservative measures don’t provide relief, your doctor may suggest you try physical therapy. A physical therapist can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the affected area. This can help reduce pain and improve function. If you have severe tendonitis that doesn’t respond to other treatments, you may need surgery to repair the damaged tendon.
No matter your treatment option, it’s essential to be patient. Tendonitis can take weeks or even months to heal. But with time and care, you will get better.
Risk Factors Associated with Tendonitis
There are a number of risk factors associated with tendonitis, and it is important to be aware of them to avoid this condition. Factors that can increase your risk of tendonitis include:
1. Overuse of Muscles
Overuse is one of the most common risk factors for tendonitis. You are more likely to develop this condition if you regularly engage in activities that strain your tendons. This is especially true if you are not giving your body enough time to rest and recover between bouts of activity.
2. Repetitive Motion
Repetitive motion is another common risk factor for tendonitis. If you are constantly doing the same motions repeatedly, you are putting stress on your tendons, which can lead to inflammation.
Age is another risk factor for tendonitis. Our tendons lose their elasticity and become more susceptible to injury as we age. This is why it is vital to take good care of your body as you age and to avoid strenuous activities that can put too much stress on your tendons.
4. Having a Previous Injury or Medical Condition
Tendons that have not fully recovered from an injury may be more vulnerable to further damage and inflammation. Furthermore, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can increase the risk of tendonitis.
Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on your tendons, which can lead to inflammation and pain. A study involving 1411 patients came to the conclusion that having a BMI higher than 25 increased the risk of tendonitis and tendon tear.
In rare cases, tendonitis can be caused by an infection that is caused by an animal bite or puncture wound. The tendon is more susceptible to this if it has already been weakened by another factor, such as old age, diabetes, or overuse.
How is Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Tendonitis is most often diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and medical history. A physical examination may also be done to look for signs of tendonitis. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds, may be used to rule out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms. Blood tests are not typically used to diagnose tendonitis.
When to See a doctor?
If you are suffering from pain and inflammation in the shoulder, elbow, or knee and think it may be due to tendonitis, it’s essential to see your doctor for a correct diagnosis. The doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment, depending on the severity of your condition.
Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons. Tendonitis is caused by injury, overuse, and certain medical conditions, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment for tendonitis can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of an individual’s condition. However, several options are available to help you find relief. Talk to your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.
The team at Orthopaedics Northeast is dedicated to relentlessly offering our patients medical and surgical care for muscle and bone injuries and diseases. Sports medicine, trauma, hand surgery, joint replacement surgery, and podiatric needs are just a few of the areas in which we specialize in providing the best care. Contact us for more information.