Every year, more than 70,000 Americans who struggle with tendonitis get a work leave. Among athletes, around 24% experience Achilles tendinitis, with 18% of cases occurring before the age of 45, reports show.
For some, this is an acute problem and can subside in some time. It typically causes localized pain, tenderness, and swelling.
But, for others, tendinitis can cause long-standing inflammation or degenerative changes in the affected area. It can result in persistent pain, weakness, and stiffness. This comprehensive guide can give you a detailed overview of the impact of this condition.
Tendinitis: what is it, exactly?
Tendinitis, also known as tendonitis, is when the tissues that connect your bones (tendons) and muscles become inflamed. This condition can be triggered by repetitive actions and is often painful. It can be acute (short-term) and chronic (persistent).
Tendons are strong, cord-like tissues. They are fibrous connective tissues, which can be found at each end of a muscle. They attach the muscle to the bone. When the muscles contract and relax, the bones and tendons start moving. This allows proper joint stability and movement.
One example of shoulder tendinitis is rotator cuff tendinitis. It can happen when you sleep on your shoulder every night or repeatedly lift your arm above your head.
In recent years, the term “tendinopathy” has been favored to describe any tendon conditions that lead to swelling and aches. Tendon disorders are a group of conditions that involve both sudden injuries and long-term diseases like tendinopathy.
They are among the most common orthopedic diagnoses, making up more than 30% of all musculoskeletal consultations, according to data published in Medicina a peer-reviewed journal.
What are the known causes?
Our body has around 4,000 tendons. But, only a few are affected by tendinitis. These particular tendons are typically linked to fewer blood vessels, which hampers their natural healing ability after an injury.
Some of the most notable causes for this condition include:
- Forceful or sudden movements (i.e. swinging a golf club with too much force, doing the heavy overhead lifting, rapidly rotating the wrist, etc.)
- Extreme or unnatural movements (i.e. doing very difficult yoga poses, rock climbing, free running, etc.)
- Incorrect techniques when exercising (i.e. doing repetitive tasks with bad posture, lifting with the legs instead of the back muscles, etc.)
Chronic tendonitis typically occurs from overuse of the affected area during sports, work, or daily activities. It is particularly associated with repetitive actions. Such as those performed in sports or on the assembly line.
How to recognize the signs and risks of tendinitis?
When you stretch the tendon beyond its normal capacity, a micro tear forms. Unlike muscles, tendons have a limited blood supply. As a temporary solution, the body forms scar tissue at the site of the tear.
Tendonitis often causes sudden pain and puffiness. But, in some cases, the symptoms can develop gradually. These symptoms can include:
- Pain when you try to move
- Tenderness in the affected area
- Grating or cracking when you move the joint
- Stiffness caused by swelling
- A visible bulge or lump
Factors such as age, obesity, diabetes, smoking, and doing various sports activities can put you at risk of experiencing these symptoms. Although young athletes can be prone to this condition, it can become more prevalent as people age.
Talk to a doctor if the pain doesn’t subside in a couple of days or if you’ve been struggling with persistent pain. Healthcare experts can help when the symptoms are severe and cause significant discomfort.
What are the common locations for tendinitis to occur?
The condition commonly occurs in specific areas of the human body. Here is a quick look at each of these areas:
- Hip: The hip joint is responsible for supporting body weight and a wide range of movements. Activities that involve repetitive or excessive hip movements, such as running, jumping, or certain sports, can strain the tendons in the hip area.
- Achilles tendon: The Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in the body. It links the muscles in your calf to your heel bone. Overuse or sudden, forceful movements of the calf muscles can lead to strain or inflammation in the Achilles tendon.
- Shoulder: The shoulder is prone to various injuries and conditions. Repetitive overhead motions or improper shoulder mechanics during activities like throwing, lifting, or swimming can contribute to shoulder tendinitis.
- Knee: The knee joint is responsible for bearing body weight and facilitating movements like walking, running, and bending. Such activities can easily strain the tendons around the area and trigger knee pain.
- Elbow: Overuse of the elbow joint, particularly during repetitive gripping or movements, can stress the tendons in the area.
- Wrist: Various activities, overuse, and improper techniques can put a strain on the tendons in the wrist and lead to wrist tendinitis.
- The base of the thumb: The base of the thumb is susceptible to tendonitis due to its intricate anatomy and involvement in gripping and pinching movements. Activities that require repetitive thumb motions, such as writing, typing, or using handheld tools, can strain the tendons in this area.
What are the types of tendinitis?
Tendonitis can impact various tendons in the body, with specific types being more prevalent. These include:
- Achilles tendinitis – This occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel, becomes inflamed. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to this type of condition.
- Trigger finger or thumb – Trigger finger is a prevalent condition where a finger clicks when you straighten it. Mainly because of puffiness and thickening of the tendon sheath in the palm. This hinders smooth movement and can make it very difficult for you to bend the affected spot.
- Supraspinatus tendinitis – This condition involves swelling of the site located at the top of the shoulder joint. It causes pain when you move the arm and can make lying on the affected shoulder uncomfortable. If other tendons in the same area are also affected, it may result in rotator cuff syndrome.
- De Quervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis – This condition typically occurs when the sheath around the tendons between the wrist and the thumb suffers from inflammation.
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow – Lateral epicondylitis, known as tennis elbow, triggers pain when you bend the wrist outward. This pain tends to spread out toward the wrist.
- Tendinitis of the wrist – Wrist tendinitis can affect individuals who frequently do repetitive wrist movements. You can recognize it by swelling in the tendons of the wrist.
Are there any preventive strategies?
To prevent injuries and knee pain, work on developing a healthy workout routine. Take the time to warm up before exercise and cool down between workouts. This prepares the muscles for any activity. If you plan on trying something new, like an activity or a sport, do some training. Build strength and flexibility and gradually increase the workout intensity.
Make sure to use the correct form for every exercise and wear supportive footwear and protective gear to avoid problems like wrist tendinitis. Options such as these can minimize the risk of injury. Also, don’t forget to stay consistent with your exercises.
Another option is to try and use supplements for bones and joints. Products like FlexoPlex can promote and maintain the health and mobility of joints. It can ease stiffness by promoting natural lubrication. Check any Flexoplex review to find out if this product can work for you.
What are the best treatment methods?
If you suspect you have tendinitis, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider. They may suggest the RICE treatment approach to alleviating pain:
- Rest the joint: Give the affected area, like the one that struggles from shoulder tendinitis, some rest to allow it to heal. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain and give your tendons time to recover.
- Apply ice packs: Ice can help curb puffiness and ease pain. Use ice packs or cold compresses on the affected area for short periods, roughly 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Compress with an elastic bandage: Wrapping the area with an elastic bandage can provide support, curb swelling, and ease soreness.
- Keep the joint elevated: Elevating the injured joint helps reduce swelling and promotes better circulation, aiding in the rejuvenation process.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend over-the-counter pain meds for knee pain like aspirin (for adults), ibuprofen, or naproxen. These can also prove beneficial for the soft tissue.
Stretching exercises are also crucial for the treatment of wrist tendinitis. Hold every stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times. Remember to follow your healthcare provider’s advice and recommendations for the best approach to managing your condition effectively.
If you believe to be at risk of such conditions, you can also use supplements. Check the Flexoplex review to see if it can offer you the necessary benefits.
In stage one, the pain occurs solely after engaging in an activity. For instance, someone may experience knee pain or lateral elbow pain (commonly known as tennis elbow) after a game of tennis. During this stage, there are no restrictions on activities.
The symptoms may present themselves as mild aches or soreness. There could also be some minimal puffiness. But, the pain is relatively manageable. Even in the early stages, you should still take care of the affected area and avoid aggravating the symptoms.
It is important for you to prioritize stretching and applying ice to the affected area after physical exertion. These measures can help alleviate discomfort and promote recovery.
Unfortunately, many people underestimate the initial stage of this condition. And may overexert their tendons and muscles. If your condition is causing significant discomfort and pain, see a specialist. They can help you mitigate the symptoms and boost your range of motion.
This condition is often caused by factors such as injury, excessive use, strain, or overuse. But, the condition can also be associated with some diseases such as diabetes, infection, or rheumatoid arthritis.
For example, diabetes can lead to changes in the structure and function of tendons, explains the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. The disorder can make them more prone to injury and swelling. Additionally, diabetes can impair circulation and nerve function. Therefore, it can hinder the natural rejuvenation process and amplify the odds of tendon damage.
When there is an infection in the tendons or surrounding areas, you can experience damage and swelling to the tissues.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. That includes the tendons. This can trigger pain, swelling, and stiffness. However, having any of these conditions doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have tendinitis. They can just increase your likelihood of developing the condition.
To maintain healthy joint cartilage, you can try Flexoplex. Read the Flexoplex review to study its potential uses.
"Tendinitis" and "tendonitis" are different spellings for the same condition, explains the Hospital for Special Surgery. This can be confusing for patients.
Historically, "tendonitis" was the more commonly used term. It stems from the medical suffix "-itis," which denotes swelling. On the other hand, "tendinitis" is a more recent variant that follows the pattern of words like "arthritis" and "bronchitis."
What adds to the complexity is that tendonitis is a specific type of "tendinopathy," which is a broader term encompassing any painful condition related to overuse in or around the tendons.
The other main type of tendinopathy is tendinosis, characterized by tiny tears and degeneration in the tendon. Repeated episodes of tendonitis can potentially lead to tendinosis, although it can also occur from acute injuries or other factors.
While both terms have been used interchangeably and essentially mean the same thing, the term "tendinopathy" has emerged as a broader term that includes both inflammatory conditions (tendonitis) and degenerative conditions (tendinosis) related to tendons.
Tenosynovitis is the swelling of the protective covering around your tendons, called the synovial membrane. It can cause pain and restrict your joint movement. When the synovial membrane is infected, damaged, or irritated, it becomes inflamed.
If left untreated, this swelling can lead to other serious problems besides the symptoms of tenosynovitis. It's important to rest the affected tendon and allow it to heal. Typically, recovery takes about four to six weeks. But the healing rate can vary based on the underlying cause of the tenosynovitis.
Tenosynovitis and tendinitis are both conditions that affect the tendons and involve puffiness. The main difference lies in what part of the tendon is inflamed. Tenosynovitis occurs when the synovial membrane surrounding the tendons becomes inflamed, also known as synovitis.
On the other hand, tendinitis involves swelling within the tendon itself. Tendinitis can be either acute, lasting for a short period, or chronic, persisting for a longer duration.
Chronic pain can take over your life. It becomes all you think about and forces you to find ways to feel better. When dealing with chronic tendinitis, it is critical to talk to a specialist. They can suggest some pain meds, stretches, or other options that can make you feel more comfortable.
Conditions like shoulder tendinitis can occur due to repetitive activities or overuse of a particular tendon. This condition can affect various areas of the human body and impact your daily activities. To find the right treatment, it is important that you recognize the symptoms and risk factors.
By better understanding this health condition, you can take the right precautionary measures to keep the tendons in good shape and stay active.