When one hears the word “tendonitis” (aka tendinitis), the first thing that usually comes to mind is tennis elbow. However, there are many different parts of the body that can be afflicted with this condition besides your elbow.
After all, as its name implies, tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation of a tendon, the thick cord that attaches a bone to a muscle — and you’ve got tendons throughout your body, including those in your shoulders, your hips, your knees, the base of your thumbs, and your Achilles heel.
Most of the time, tendonitis develops as the result of repetitive, minor impact on an affected area. Activities such as gardening, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, carpentry work, and – yes – tennis, golfing, or skiing all involve repetitive motion and impact. However, tendonitis can also be triggered by poor posture at home or work, or by failing to condition your body before exercising.
Plus, there are other factors that can lead to tendonitis, such as abnormal bone or joint placement, an infection, adverse medication reactions, or stresses brought on by other conditions such as gout, thyroid disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Although anyone can get tendonitis, it’s much more common in older adults. That’s because as we age, our tendons are less elastic and less tolerant to stress, and can tire and be damaged more easily. When pain and tension build up around a muscle or joint after common movements, tendonitis is often the culprit.
Often, tendonitis can be avoided by refraining from activities that aggravate the problem or by using limited force and repetition in your strenuous routines. However, if you already have tendonitis, there are ways to manage your pain:
- Ice helps. Apply cold compression on the area the day of the injury.
- If pain occurs, stop what you’re doing. Rest the injured area for a while, then resume your activity. If the pain recurs, stop and rest for the day.
- Take an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory pain reliever or apply a topical anti-inflammatory gel.
Consult your doctor if your condition doesn’t improve within a week, or if you are experiencing:
- A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Multiple sites of pain
- Swelling and redness
- An inability to move the affected area
Depending on the severity of your tendonitis, your doctor may recommend more advanced treatments, such as corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, or – if necessary – surgery. In any event, be aware that it can take a few weeks to several months for the pain to eventually go away.
If your tendonitis is keeping you from enjoying an active lifestyle, don’t allow yourself to live with the pain. Seek out a reputable, board-certified & fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who can educate you about your options. The staff at Orthopaedic Associates utilizes both cutting-edge therapies and traditional treatments to address a variety of orthopedic conditions. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call 440-892-1440.