At Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, we see patients with tendinitis frequently, either from repetitive-strain sports injuries or on-the-job repetitive- motion injuries. Tendinitis causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint, most commonly occurring in patients’ shoulders, elbows, wrists, thumbs, knees and at the back of their heels.
Tendons are the strong bands or cords of tissue attaching muscle to bone. They help move the bones and joints as muscles contract. If a tendon is stretched repeatedly, it can cause acute pain; and ruptured tendons may require surgery. For these reasons, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of this condition early on.
What Causes Tendinitis?
Typically, tendinitis is either caused by repetitive minor impacts on the affected area (such as your rhythmic footfalls when running) or by a sudden, more serious injury.
Although anyone can get tendinitis, it is more common in those who engage in repetitive activities. For instance, your job may require:
- Repetitive motions.
- Awkward positions.
- Frequent overhead reaching.
- Working around vibration.
- Forceful exertion.
More jobs, hobbies and athletic pursuits which can cause tendinitis include:
- Tennis, golf, skiing, baseball (throwing and pitching).
What are the Symptoms of Tendinitis?
Since tendons hold the muscle and bone together, the symptoms and signs of tendinitis usually occur where the tendon attaches to the bone and may include:
- Pain that worsens when you move the affected area.
- Weakness in or inability to move a joint.
- Mild swelling, sometimes accompanied by heat and redness.
- A sensation that the affected tendon is grating or crackling as it moves.
- A lump on the affected tendon.
How Do I Know if I Have Tendinitis?
In most cases, tendinitis is diagnosed by your doctor’s physical examination. If you have the symptoms of tendinitis, your doctor may order an ultrasound or an MRI scan to help determine the severity of damage to a tendon and assess whether you may have similar problems such as bursitis (inflammation of the cushioning fluid surrounding the joints).
How Is Tendinitis Treated?
If the injury is recent and pain is not severe, some recommended at-home treatments to try are:
- Icing the area on the day of the injury.
- Avoiding activities that aggravate the problem.
- Resting the injured area.
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.
If the condition does not improve within a few days to a week, please see your orthopedic specialist. If you suspect you have ruptured a tendon, you should consult your doctor right away. Your physician may prescribe:
- Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroids (often called “steroids”) are often used because they work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain.
- Physical therapy: This can be very beneficial, especially for a “frozen shoulder.” Physical therapy includes range of motion exercises and splinting.
- Surgery: This is rarely needed and only for severe problems that do not respond to other treatments.
Our team of trained and experienced orthopedic specialists at Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Blacksburg, VA, is eager to help relieve your pain and get you back in your game, whether you’re working or playing. We also suggest preventive strategies which can spare you re-injury either at your job or doing what you love in your free time. Please contact us by calling (540) 552-7133 or scheduling online.