Tendonitis (also tendinitis) is an inflammation, or irritation, of one of the body’s many tendons. To understand the cause of tendonitis, you should first know what tendons are and what they do; tendons are strong, somewhat elastic, fibrous cords of tissue that attach various muscles to bones. Tendons enable movement by working with the surrounding muscles to exert a pulling force on bones.
Tendonitis can occur at any age, however it is much more common in people who are active and is often associated with sports. This make sense if you think of tendons as rubber bands. They can be stretched, but only so far – and extreme forces, such as running and then pivoting fast, can cause acute (meaning sudden) injury to a vulnerable tendon. Some repetitive job-related tasks can also lead to tendonitis, where too much of one motion starts to overexert a specific area.
Overworking the body’s tendons, pushing them too hard (even over a brief period of time), or overexerting the tendons by making them do repetitive tasks for too long are all common causes of tendonitis. The condition is often named by association with the area affected: Rotator cuff tendonitis, bicep, or Achilles tendonitis, for instance, all reference the specific tendon affected. Tendonitis also goes by other names such as golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, pitcher’s shoulder, jumper’s knee, and more.
The main thing to bear in mind is that tendonitis usually happens when the body is pushed past its breaking point. If you exercise regularly or stretch before doing strenuous activities that are repetitive in nature, then you can dramatically lower your risk of suffering from tendonitis.
So-called “weekend warriors” often suffer from tendonitis, because they lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle during the week only to push their bodies past normal limits on the weekend. An active lifestyle is definitely a good thing, and should be encouraged, just remember to take all the necessary precautions with proper warm-ups and cool down periods.
What Tendons Can Be Affected by Tendonitis?
While tendonitis can occur in any of the body’s tendons, it’s most often seen in the shoulders, elbows, knees, heels, wrists, and fingers. People commonly report pain, discomfort, inflammation, and tenderness around the affected joint. Tendonitis can be brought on by repetitive motions such as:
- Raking or sweeping
- Typing or driving
- Sports (such as tennis, golf, or baseball)
Additionally, if you have certain medications, joint disorders such as arthritis, previous tendon injuries or other abnormalities already, you may be at higher risk for developing tendonitis. Speaking to an orthopedic physician is one of the best starts towards proper treatment, because determining the root cause of your pain is often the first and best step towards healing and relieving pain.
If you or a loved one is recovering from, or needs treatment for, tendonitis or any other bone related treatment, please contact Orthopaedic Associates at (440) 892-1440 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained orthopedic physicians. Orthopaedic Associates: Specializing in you!