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A Brief Overview of Tendinitis

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Tendinitis, or tendonitis, is inflammation or irritation of a tendon, which is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that attaches bone to muscle and that works together with muscle to move your bones. You have tendons in the ankles, hands, feet, knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders. Inflammation of any of these tendons can be extremely painful and should be inspected by an orthopaedic doctor immediately. Tendinitis is most common in adults over the age of 40 whose tendons are less elastic and more likely to tear, but it can affect anyone.

Causes

It can be difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for a particular case of tendinitis, but it often occurs as the result of overuse or overload of a tendon. This overuse can be repetitive minor impact on the tendon, or it can be a sudden, more serious injury. Everyday activities that might lead to the onset of tendinitis include gardening, yardwork, house chores, home renovation, tennis, golf, skiing, and throwing or pitching. Even poor stretching or conditioning before exercise or sports can contribute to the onset of tendinitis. There are less common abnormalities that might be causes as well, such as limbs that differ in length, arthritis in a joint, unusual medication reactions, and infection.

Symptoms

Tendinitis is characterized by pain at the affected site. This pain can build over time, or it might have a more sudden onset, such as when calcium deposits are present. Loss of motion in the shoulder, also called “frozen shoulder,” can be a symptom as well. Tendinitis most commonly affects the base of the thumb, hips, shoulders, elbows, knee, and achilles tendon.

Treatment

How tendinitis is treated will depend on the seriousness of the particular case, but initial treatment involves avoiding activities that aggravate the problem, resting the affected area, icing the area if it is due to sudden injury, and taking an oral or topical over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. If these initial forms of treatment do not lead to improvement within a week, a doctor might prescribe more advanced treatments, such as corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, or—in the most serious of cases—surgery. An orthopaedic doctor might start with a non-operative method to correct the problem, and then if it cannot be corrected, then the technique used will enhance the success of surgery. Recovery from tendinitis might take weeks or even months, depending on the seriousness of the case.

Prevention

It isn’t possible to prevent the onset of tendinitis completely, but there are many practices you can adopt into your everyday routine to help reduce the likelihood of getting tendinitis. Proper stretching and conditioning before and after exercise, giving your body time to adjust to a new exercise, and using limited force and limited repetitions in exercises can all help. If unusual pain occurs while playing a sport or performing an activity, stop what you are doing immediately and give the affected area a break. If the pain persists upon a later attempt, see a doctor immediately to prevent any further pain or damage from developing.

If you’re located in the Salt Lake area and seem to be exhibiting signs of tendinitis, make an appointment with Dr. Skedros today. You can get a second or third opinion on your particular case, and discuss the possibilities of undergoing surgery with Dr. Skedros, Utah’s 1st fellowship trained shoulder and elbow surgeon.

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