Tendinitis can be defined as an inflammation or pain in the tendons. Tendons are thick, flexible, fibrous cords that can withstand tension. Whilst the ligament connects the bones at the point of joints, tendons on the other hand attach the bones to the muscles to facilitate proper movement. The condition is extremely painful and can cause intense discomfort to go on with daily work.
Though tendinitis can occur in any tendons present in the body, it most commonly affects the tendons of the elbow, wrist, knee, heels and shoulders. Thus, the body part getting involved in the injury gives the condition its name, some of the familiar terms include Achilles tendinitis, Jumper’s Knee, Tennis Elbow, or Golfer’s elbow, and Pitcher’s shoulder. Also Read: Achilles Tendinitis - Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Tendinitis can not only happen due to a sudden jolt or injury at the point of contact but also occur due to long time strenuous activities often owing to the person’s respective job or hobby that ultimately lead to overuse or extreme exertion of the tendons. Also Read: Tenosynovitis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
The common causative risk factors include:
Age: Though it can happen to a person at any age, risks of tendinitis is more common in older people since their tendons become less flexible.
Medications: Certain antibiotics can lead to tendinitis as a side effect if taken without proper consultation.
Sports: Tendinitis is more common in sportspersons since it involves continuous repetitive motions and can often be prolonged for a long time. These activities include Swimming, Running, Tennis, Basketball, Baseball, Golf, and Bowling.
Occupation: People working in certain sectors where their body is exposed to vibration, forceful exertion, repetitive motions, and awkward positioning, also have high chances of tendinitis due to the exertion of tendons regularly. These occupations might include gardening, woodworking, landscaping, painting, shovelling, or scrubbing.
Tendonitis usually occurs at the point of attachment of the bones to the muscles and might attribute the following signs and symptoms:
- Intense pain that worsens on movement
- A feeling of tendons cracking on movement
- Swelling, heat, and redness of the tendons
- Development of a lump on the tendon
In case, the condition is not treated on time, and the pain persists for several months, it can lead to tendinosis which causes degeneration of the tendons followed by the growth of abnormal blood vessels. In certain extreme cases, tendinitis can even lead to rupture of the tendon which is extremely painful and might require a surgical procedure to rectify the condition.
Diagnosis And Treatment
It is strictly suggested to consult a specialist doctor at the earliest once you experience or notice any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms. The orthopaedic doctor usually does a thorough physical check-up of the patient by feeling the place of injury. The doctor may also acknowledge any past medical condition or any kind of injury or accident that might have taken place in the past followed by the following diagnostics:
Imaging techniques like X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI-scan, etc.
Treatment options usually involve methods to reduce the pain and inflammation at the site. These include:
Medications: Prescribed medicines like corticosteroids, pain relievers, and Plasma rich-plasma (PRP) treatment.
Physical Therapy: A specific set of exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the affected muscle-tendon unit by a well-trained therapist may slowly reduce the pain and facilitate the movement of the part.
Surgery: As a last resort, if the conditions are not resolved, the doctor may go for surgical procedures like Ultrasonic treatment, Dry needling, or surgical repair of the torn tendon.
Along with proper medication and physiotherapy, some home remedies can also facilitate quick healing and diminish the pain and inflammation. These include:
- Sufficient rest
- Application of ice pack
- Wraps or compressive elastic bandages to compress the area
- Elevation of the affected part