Tendonitis is a painful condition brought about by injuries and trauma to the fibrous connective tissues which attach muscles to the bones. The exact etiology for tendonitis is not yet known. However, studies and research have found that it is more likely a result of overuse. This happens during strenuous activities that strain and stretch the muscle, tissues and tendons.Â This condition is commonly experienced by middle adults ranging from 35 to 55 years of age, although it can also be found in younger individuals. Aging is associated with this painful condition due to the fact that tissues lose elasticity and flexibility when a person ages. Common areas for tendonitis include the rotator cuff of the shoulders, patellar tendon, elbow, wrist and Achilles heel. It is less common in hips and torso.
The signs and symptoms of tendon inflammation range from mild to so severe that a person might experience difficulty with their daily activities, and sometimes can hardly perform daily activities. Tendonitis is characterized by pain especially when under pressure or touched, restricted movements, stiffness, burning sensation, and swelling around the affected area. Often, the cause of tendonitis is work related. Activities that usually cause tendonitis are those which involve being in the same position for long periods like gardening and raking, strenuous and repetitive activities such as carpentry, shoveling and scrubbing. Poor body mechanics, even in performing activities of daily living, and anatomical structure can lead to tendonitis. Other medical conditions have also been linked to the occurrence of tendon inflammation. These include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, thyroid gland abnormalities, infections and some drug reactions.
Diagnosing this condition involves a thorough physical assessment with the physician because the signs and symptoms can mimic other conditions. An Achilles tendon injury, for instance, can mimic certain symptoms of bursitis. Diagnostic tools seldom confirm the presence of this condition. However, certain imaging studies such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography can help in ruling out other conditions which may have similar signs and symptoms with that of tendonitis. The goal of tendonitis treatments is to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. At the onset of the first sign of tendonitis, which is pain, the activity should be stopped immediately. This will prevent further trauma to the affected area. Within 24 to 48 hours following the injury, a cold compress or an ice pack must be applied over the affected site.Â The area should also be elevated to prevent and minimize the occurrence of edema or swelling as a result of inflammatory process.
Other tendonitis treatments include the use of over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have both analgesic and antipyretic effects, which is helpful for the treatment and management of tendon inflammation. In some cases, when the pain is very severe, steroid injections can be considered as an option for pain relief. Seldom do physicians require an invasive approach such as surgery and autologous blood injection for pain management. If the severity of the condition is too much to handle, then these methods can be used. Surgery involves the removal of the damaged tissue with an incision while autologous blood injection is a technique that requires the insertion of the clientâ€™s own blood directly into the site affected. This promotes tissue healing.
The best way to manage tendonitis is to prevent its occurrence or, if it occurred already, then prevent it from happening again. This can be best achieved by properly warming up before performing any activities. Taking rest breaks when performing strenuous activities can also help. Physical exercises are the best way to improve and enhance the strength and flexibility of the muscle, tendons and other tissues involved, making it an excellent way to prevent tendon inflammation from occurring again.