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Tendons are thick cords that join your muscles to your bones. When tendons become irritated or inflamed, the condition is called tendinitis. Tendinitis causes acute pain and tenderness, making it difficult to move the affected joint.
Any tendon can develop tendinitis, but you’re more likely to develop it in your shoulder, knee, elbow, heel, or wrist.
Tendinitis may also be called by one of the following names:
The most common cause of tendinitis is repetitive action. Tendons help you make a certain movement over and over. You may develop tendinitis if you frequently make the same motion while playing sports or working. The risk increases if you perform the motion incorrectly.
Tendinitis can also result from:
Athletes who participate in certain sports, such as tennis, golf, bowling, or basketball, are at a higher risk of tendinitis. You may also be at a higher risk if your job requires physical exertion, overhead lifting, or repetitive motions or tasks.
The pain from tendinitis is typically a dull ache concentrated around the affected area or joint. It increases when you move the injured area. The area will be tender and you’ll feel increased pain if someone touches it. You may experience a tightness that makes it difficult to move the area. You may also have some swelling.
If you develop the symptoms of tendinitis, begin by resting the area and applying ice. If your condition doesn’t improve after a few days of rest, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Be prepared to tell your doctor about the following:
Treatment options for tendinitis help reduce pain and inflammation in the tendon. Some basic home remedies include:
If your condition is more severe, your doctor may also recommend:
A single corticosteroid injection can reduce pain and inflammation, but repeated injections can cause the tendon to weaken and increase your chances of injury.
When treated early, tendinitis usually resolves quickly. For some people, it can recur and become a chronic or long-term problem. If repetitive movements or overuse led to your tendinitis, you should change those behaviors to reduce your risk of developing it again after it heals.
You can cause additional injury, such as a tendon rupture, if the inflammation continues without treatment. Surgery is often necessary for a tendon rupture and for cases that don’t respond well to other treatments.
Take these simple steps to lower your chances of developing tendinitis:
If you begin to feel the pain of tendinitis, stop your activity. Take a 20-minute break to apply ice and rest.
Written by: Ann Pietrangelo
Medically reviewed on: Jul 03, 2017: Gregory Minnis, DPT
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