Tendonitis is a condition that describes the inflammation of the tendon.

Tendons are collagen-fiber tissues that connect the bones and muscles, which allow the body to move. There are thousands of tendons in the body. They allow each joint of the body to bend, flex, or rotate during movement.

As the tendon becomes inflamed, it swells and causes pain and stiffness during movement. Usually, people feel tendonitis pain near the joint. It’s often confused with arthritis.

Tennis elbow, trigger finger, De Quervain’s syndrome, and runner’s knee are common conditions affecting the tendons. Of course, tendonitis can also affect the shoulders, ankles, and toes.

Sometimes tendonitis will get better when a person treats it with RICE therapy:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression bandage
  • Elevation

At other times, medical treatment may be necessary.

What causes tendonitis?

Like many conditions when it comes to tendonitis, there are some risk factors that people can control and others they cannot.

Tendon injuries can happen during sporting events, accidents, or falls. Damage can also occur when the tendons are subjected to repetitive motions during sports practice, hobbies, or work.

As we age, our tendons become less elastic, causing them to snap under stress. The wear-and-tear of years of use and arthritis are two other causes of tendonitis. And while you may not be able to do much to stop age-related issues, you can minimize the negative impact on your tendons by taking care of yourself.

How do you treat inflamed tendons?

Treatment of tendonitis often involves resting the area and stopping the activities that caused the condition.

Physical therapy can also help restore movement and function. During your appointment, the therapist will work with you to strengthen the surrounding muscles and increase your flexibility.

If tendonitis is causing significant pain, your orthopedic provider may prescribe corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

If a tendon is severely torn, surgery may be necessary.

Recovery may be as short as two weeks or take several months, depending on the location of the tendon and the severity of the injury.

How do you prevent tendonitis?

There are a few things you can do each day to prevent tendonitis.

  • Warm up before working out or going out to work.
  • If you make repetitive movements every day, give your body a break.
  • If you’re developing new athletic skills, work with an athletic trainer or physical therapist to make sure you’re using proper form and techniques. These body-mechanic experts can help you build the correct muscle memory for your activity.
  • If you feel pain during an activity, stop. Don’t push through. Your body is telling you something is not right.
  • Vary your workout or practice routine so you are not stressing the same muscles and joints each time.
  • Stretch after your workout. Stretch to your limit, but not beyond. The stretches should feel good. They should not cause pain.

When should I see a doctor for tendonitis pain?

Make an appointment with an orthopedic provider if:

  • You experience sudden joint pain.
  • The pain is not getting better after a week or two of rest.
  • You still cannot move normally.

If you are experiencing joint pain or it hurts to move, contact Bone & Joint’s orthopedic team. They can help diagnose your pain and get you moving in the right direction again.

Call 800-445-6442 or request an appointment online.