Patient's Complete Guide to Tendonitis

Overview of Tendonitis

Tendons are the fibrous connective tissue that connects bones to the muscle and can withstand tension. They are made of collagen and are very essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Tendonitis or Tendinitis (Watar Ki Sozish / وتر کی سوزش) is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon. This inflammation causes pain and tenderness outside the joint. It can happen anytime over the period. It is linked to an acute injury with inflammation.
The body part involved with the tendon inflammation, gives the type its name. Tendonitis is more common in adults who are professional athletes or play sports. In older people, weakness in the muscles may cause tendonitis.

Prevalence of Tendonitis

Globally, it affects 10.52 persons out of 1000 every year. In Pakistan, it affects almost 30 percent of runners.

Signs and Symptoms of Tendonitis

Tendonitis symptoms present themselves at the place of attachment of the tendon to the bone. Including:

  • Swelling and redness
  • Tender to touch
  • Lump formation along the tendon
  • Pain that worsens with movement

Types of Tendonitis

The type of tendonitis depends on the locality of the inflammation.

  • Achilles Tendonitis

    It is a common sports injury. The location of inflammation is between the heel and the calf muscle. Rheumatoid arthritis individuals are more susceptible to injury.
  • Tennis Elbow

    It is also known as lateral epicondylitis. The pain presents itself in the backside of the elbow and forearm, along the thumb side. The location of inflammation is in the tendons that bend the wrist back, away from the palm.
  • Golfer’s or Baseball Elbow

    It is also known as medial epicondylitis. The pain presents itself from the elbow to the wrist on the palm side of the forearm. The location of inflammation is in the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm.
  • Biceps Tendonitis

    It is also called rotator cuff tendonitis. As the name indicates, inflammation is in the tendons that connect the biceps muscle to the radius bone at the elbow.
  • Triceps Tendonitis

    Tendon inflammation is present in the triceps tendon connecting the triceps muscle to the elbow.
  • Supraspinatus Tendonitis

    Inflammation is present in the tendon around the top of the shoulder joint. When the shoulder is moved, pain erupts.
  • De Quervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis

    Inflammation in the sheath surrounding the thumb tendons occurs. This injury causes painful movement of the thumb.
  • Trigger Finger or Thumb

    A clicking sound is produced when a finger or thumb is straightened out. As the inflammation ceases normal movement, the finger or thumb becomes fixed in a bent position.
  • Tendinitis of the Wrist

    It is a degenerative condition. This affects individuals who repeatedly use the same motion with their wrists.

Causes of Tendonitis

Tendonitis can be caused by a sudden injury or repetitive movement of the tendons over time. This can put a strain on the tendons causing them to inflame.

Risk Factors of Tendonitis

Risk factors of tendonitis include:

  • Age factor
  • Occupation such as badminton player, factory worker
  • Sports such as tennis, golf, swimming, basketball
  • Any previous injury on the joints
  • Some health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis

Complications of Tendonitis

Following are some of the complications of tendonitis:

  • Tightening of the tendon
  • Scarring or adhesion
  • Muscle wasting
  • Incapacity or disability

Prevention

Given below are some key preventive tips that can reduce the occurrence of tendonitis:

  • Mix it Up

Exercise is an important technique to boost the body and its metabolism. But you should not stick to just one routine.  Mix various exercise routines with one another. You can try cycling, jogging and running.

  • Pay Attention To the Technique

Physical activities can become quite difficult if you are doing them in the wrong manner. Make sure to use the right techniques or you can consult your health care provider for further updates.

  • Workplace Ergonomics

This is an important point. You should pay special attention to your work area. Make sure to adjust your workplace accordingly.

  • Prepare Those Muscles to Play

After proper training, the muscles are prepared to withhold stress and load.

  • Stretch

Stretchy muscles can minimize the risk of possible trauma on tightened issues. Therefore make sure to stretch your muscles after an exercise.

Diagnosis

A physical examination will let the doctor know about tenderness in the tendons. When the tendon is moved, a creaky sound can be heard which indicates thickened or inflamed tendon sheath.

If the diagnosis is still unclear an x-ray can be performed which will confirm the diagnosis. Other imaging tests can also be performed.

Treatment of Tendonitis | When to Consult a Doctor

The main purpose of the treatment is to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Most of the time, using ice on the inflamed tendon or taking rest is enough.

  • Medications

    The doctor may recommend the following medications for tendonitis:
  • Pain relievers

    Pain relievers relax the muscle or the tendon, easing the pain. This includes ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen sodium, etc. Topical creams can also be applied to reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids

    A corticosteroid injection can reduce inflammation and lessen pain. This is recommended for chronic tendonitis.
  • Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)

    PRP is injected in the area of chronic tendon inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy

    Physical therapy allows the muscles and tendons to go back to their initial strength and elasticity. The therapy program is specifically designed to reduce tendonitis.
  • Surgery

    In severe cases, surgery is recommended. It can be done through three procedures:
  1. Dry needling
  2. Ultrasonic treatment
  3. Surgical repair

Tendonitis is not a severe or threatening condition. In chronic cases, serious treatment is needed.

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