The body contains many different tendons. They are the connecting, flexible bands that hold muscles on the bones. Tendons are responsible for helping muscles pull bones, thus enabling movement. Tendonitis is the condition that occurs when tendons become inflamed and irritated. Joints near the area are often tender and sore.
Tendonitis occurs as a result of one of two issues. It can be due to overuse or a physical abnormality. New activities or repeated movements over a long period of time can cause irritation and inflammation of the tendons.
Tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome are also examples that are caused by overuse. Physical abnormalities can prevent tendons from having an unhindered pathway to glide easily, which causes the irritation and inflammation.
Diagnosing tendonitis can be done multiple ways. Doctors can determine the possibility of the condition through a physical exam and symptom description. An MRI or ultrasound can show inflammation. An x-ray can show the presence of calcium build up around tendons.
There are different treatment options for tendonitis, but not any permanent cures. The goal is to reduce the inflammation and relieve pain. Common recommended treatments include using cold compresses, over the counter pain relievers and physical therapy. In some cases, corticosteroid injections might be recommended for relief.
Physical therapy is the main course of treatment for tendonitis. The therapist you work with will create a comprehensive plan that involves stretching and exercises that target the specific problem areas. They are intended to increase range of motion and mobility, while avoiding muscle tension.
Severe cases, such as the ones that can lead to permanent tendon damage, often require surgery. The same is true for physical abnormalities that cause the condition. Surgical repair generally involves removing obstacles that may be in the way of tendon function. It may also include removing pieces of tendons if they are already permanently damaged.
Preventing tendonitis is important, particularly if you perform the same tasks over and over throughout the day. Regular stretching and resting periods can help give muscles and tendons a break. If you must perform repetitive movements, such as typing, make sure you are taking time to rest periodically. For other prone areas, such as elbows and knees, consider wearing supportive wraps or braces.
Tendonitis can affect mobility and be quite uncomfortable. Taking extra measures to help prevent the condition is a good idea. If you already suffer from it, your efforts should be focused on preventing flare ups by properly preparing for tasks and making adjustments. When a flare up does occur, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and properly rest the affected area.