Tendinitis is an inflammation of a tendon - the tissue connecting bone to muscle. This condition can affect anyone but is most common among adults who regularly take part in sports. A mild case of tendinitis can last only a few days, while a more severe episode could cause difficulties for a number of months.
Causes of Tendinitis
The condition is caused by overuse or sudden injury of a particular tendon. You may suffer tendinitis as a work-related injury if your job involves constant repetition of a particular movement such as overhead activity, forceful exertion or even just sitting at a desk all day.
Tendinitis is a particularly common problem in those taking part in sports such as tennis, golf or swimming, as these involve practicing the same motions repetitively.
Have a look at our blog post on preventing common sporting injuries for advice on how to avoid tendinitis in your fitness routine.
Apart from athletes, there are a number of other groups who are particularly susceptible to tendinitis including the elderly, diabetics and those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Commonly Affected Areas
Some of the places most commonly inflamed are:
· The hand, wrist or thumb – including ‘gamers thumb’ and ‘trigger finger’
· The ankle or foot – including Achilles tendinitis often caused by ill-fitting shoes
· The knee – patellar tendinitis known as ‘jumpers knee’
· The elbow or shoulder – most frequently in the cases of ‘golfers elbow’ or ‘tennis elbow’
Identifying the Symptoms of Tendinitis
Most sufferers of this condition are alerted to it by pain in the affected area. Movement of the area may worsen the pain, and the inflammation often causes a feeling that the tendon is ‘cracking’ as it moves. Patients often notice swelling or redness, and if the tendon is severely ruptured it is sometimes possible to feel a gap in the line where the tendon runs, making any movement very difficult.
Remedies to Try at Home
For a mild case of tendinitis, it is recommended to simply rest the area as much as possible. If the condition has been caused by a necessary part of your job and avoiding the action altogether is not possible, a significant reduction is necessary to prevent further damage.
Try applying an ice pack to the inflamed area and use over-the-counter pain relief to manage the discomfort.
For more tips on how to treat tendonitis yourself, read our article on treating muscle tissue injuries.
Seeking Professional Help
If you suspect you have tendonitis your physiotherapist can confirm the diagnosis with a simple examination. For more serious cases, an x-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan can be necessary to learn more about the problem.
Once tendonitis is confirmed, physiotherapy can help you to manage the symptoms, alleviate the pain and prevent re-occurrence. In severe cases, an operation can be necessary to fix the affected tendon, followed by a program of post-operative rehabilitation.
To learn more about our physiotherapy services in Auckland, contact us online or call 09 273 6089 to speak with one of our friendly team members.