Tendinitis
Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

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Tendinitis

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is a health concern that causes thousands of people pain every day. Although this is a common ailment, many are unaware of the true causes of tendinitis and the variety of treatment options that are available. Tendinitis is simply an inflammation or swelling of a tendon. Tendons are thick, fibrous cords that connect muscles to bones. Tendinitis can lead to joint pain and tenderness. This joint problem can happen anywhere, but it is most common in the shoulders, wrists, heels and elbows. A few common names for tendinitis include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Runner’s knee
  • Pitcher’s shoulder

Tendinitis Symptoms

Many people experience pain and swelling in their joints, and this may be a symptom of tendonitis. The pain primarily occurs where tendons attach to bones. A dull ache may be present, especially when moving the affected joint. Mild swelling may also be seen in the area.

Tendinitis Causes

Sudden injuries are responsible for tendinitis in very rare instances. Most of the time, it takes several months or years for tendinitis to reach the point where it is painful. Weightlifting, running, swimming, tennis and a number of other sports are all primary causes of the joint problems. It is imperative to use proper techniques when engaging in risky activities. Stretching before and after an activity is a good idea and reduces the chances of tendinitis.

Risk Factors

Risk factors may exacerbate the chances of getting tendinitis, and certain jobs and sports are notoriously more dangerous than others. Aging also affects range-of-motion, and tendons are less flexible in older people. Jobs that involve repetitive motions are also risky. Vibration, forceful exertion, overhead reaching and awkward positions are all job-related risk factors.

Some sports can also lead to tendinitis, and the following activities are among the most dangerous:

  • bowling
  • golf
  • baseball
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • running and basketball

Tendinitis Complications

Tendinitis can also cause serious complications, and professional attention should be sought. Tendons can actually rupture. Ruptured tendons can only be fixed by surgery.

Tendinitis Tests and Diagnosis

Doctors have several tests that are used to determine if tendinitis is present. X-rays and imaging tests are two ways tests that physicians use, and they provide detailed pictures of joints, tendons and bones.

Tendinitis Treatments

Treatment for tendinitis consists of two major goals. The first thing that doctors help with is pain relief. Inflammation is another tendinitis problem, and physicians have a number of ways to remedy this as well.

Corticosteroids
These are a prescription medication that can be injected directly into a tendon. The injections ease pain and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids work by helping new tissue grow in the affected area. There are some complications with regular injections, and they can actually make tendons weak over time.

Pain Relievers
Pain relievers, such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen, are also part of most treatment plans. These are found in over-the-counter products, but doctors can prescribe stronger formulations. Topical creams are another treatment option and are becoming more common. These relieve pain without affecting overall health.