Tendonitis, put simply, is an inflammation of one of the body’s many tendons. Tendons are the strong, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. While made of similar material as ligaments, the difference between the two is ligaments connect bone to bone, while tendons connect bone to muscle. Tendonitis is considered to be a type of tendinopathy – which is a disease that affects the tendons. This may sound severe, but tendonitis is actually a fairly common occurrence, and it’s very treatable. Below is a more in-depth overview of exactly what tendonitis is, how it affects us, and what to do about it.
More About Tendonitis
The body has many tendons (around 4000 to be exact!), so most cases of tendonitis are differentiated by where they occur. Below is a list of some of the most common types of tendonitis:
- Tennis Elbow: This type of tendonitis affects the tendons which connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. Commonly suffered by tennis players (hence the name), this type of tendonitis creates symptoms such as pain, swelling, and inflammation on the forearm, wrist, or the outside of the elbow.
- Achilles Tendonitis: Affecting the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that connects your heel to the calf muscle, this type of tendonitis causes pain and swelling in the heel, as well as a possible stiffness in the foot. Achilles tendonitis can also affect the calf muscle.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: As inferred by the name, this type of tendonitis affects the tendons which help the joints of the shoulders to rotate. Once again, this tendonitis can cause pain, stiffness, and discomfort in or around the shoulder, but can also be distinguished by the possibility of a slight clicking noise being emitted when the arm is raised or lowered.
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: this type of tendonitis has become increasingly common in recent years, due to the nature of what causes it. This type of tendonitis is characterized by painful swelling of the tendons in the thumb, due to repetitive movements such as texting, typing, or writing.
Common causes for tendonitis can include repetitive motion, aging, injury, or overexerting the tendons without the proper conditioning. Proper physical conditioning includes stretching before workouts, staying hydrated, and making sure that the body is not overworked in isolated incidents without building a gradual resistance to physical exertion.
Tendonitis can often be prevented by avoiding strenuous repetitive activities over a period of time. Gradually training your muscles and tendons to withstand heavy physical exertion, changing your daily activities to break the cycle of repetition that can cause tendonitis, and properly stretching/warming up before physical activity are ways to keep loose and pain free.
Finally, most forms of tendonitis can be treated with rest, pain relievers, or physical therapy, or a combination of treatments. Whatever you do, don’t overdo it, as pushing the tendons to far can cause them to rupture, requiring surgical intervention to correct. If you would like more information about tendonitis, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Associates at (440) 892-1440 today.