Tendinitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are thick fibrous bands of tissue that connect a muscle to a bone. Tendinitis often causes pain and tenderness son the outside of the affected joint.
Although tendinitis may take place in any of the tendons in the body, it is most likely to occur in the shoulders, wrists, elbows and heels.
Some tendinitis injuries include:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Jumper’s knee
- Swimmer’s shoulder
- Pitcher’s shoulder
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In severe cases, the tendon gets ruptured. Severe injuries are usually treated with surgery. However, in most cases, the condition can be effectively treated with rest, physical therapy and over-the-counter or prescription medications for pain.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of tendinitis take place where the tendon joints a bone. Symptoms and signs normally include:
- Mild swelling
- Pain – a dull ache while moving the affected joint or limb
When to seek medical attention
In most cases, the condition can be treated with self-care measures. See your health care provider if signs and symptoms continue and affect daily activities.
Right after the injury, it helps to follow the R.I.C.E. treatment: rest, ice, compression and elevation. This will speed up recovery time and also reduce the chances of further problems.
- Rest. Rest the affected limb or elbow properly and avoid activities that may worsen pain and swelling. Avoid trying to exercise, work or play with the pain. Rest is primarily the best treatment to encourage tissue healing. However, this does not mean you are confined to complete bed rest. You can perform other activities and workouts that do not apply stress to the injured tendon. Low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling are OK.
- Ice. Applying ice to the affected region for about 20 minutes, many times a day can reduce pain and swelling. You can use ice packs, slush baths or ice massage for this purpose. Freeze water in a plastic foam cup for an ice massage. For more chronic condition, you can apply heat to enhance the blood flow to the muscles and tendon.
- Compression. Swelling can occur due to lack of motion of the affected joint. Therefore, it is important that you compress the area with a compressive bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevation. Elevate the affected joint or knee above heart level to encourage blood flow and reduce swelling.
Even though rest is required for proper healing of the affected tendon, extended inactivity of the tendon may result in stiffness of the joints. Therefore, after a few days of rest of the injured area, try to gently move the joint through it’s ensure range of motion in order to sustain its flexibility.
Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin and acetaminophen can be taken in order to reduce pain and discomfort due to tendinitis.