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Tendonitis

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We sit, stand, walk, run, jump, pick things up and do hundreds of things in a day. All because of our skeletal system. Our skeletal system, that is, bone structure functions with the support of muscles. Muscles are connected to the bones with the help of tendons. These tendons are flexible bands made up of fibrous, connective tissues. These tissues helps in transmitting the force applied by the muscles to the bones, thus, facilitating in their movement.

There are different types of tendons in the body. They are present in different parts of the body, thus some are small and some are big. They function all day long due to the voluntary and involuntary movements occurring in the body. These fibrous muscles too undergo normal wear and tear. When one of these muscles undergoes a pull or strain, it becomes inflamed. This causes various muscle problems, like tendonitis. Let us learn more about tendonitis and its treatments.

What is Tendonitis?

When one carries out repetitive movements or lifts heavy weights, etc. it can lead to inflammation of the tendons. This inflammation is called as tendonitis or tendinitis. It is usually an acute condition that occurs suddenly.

Causes of Tendonitis

The exact cause of tendonitis is unknown. However, it mostly occurs due to the overuse of muscles. This occurs due to repetitive movements due to work like driving, lifting heavy loads, operating heavy machinery, etc. or due to play like basketball, badminton, etc. In some cases, it also occurs due to calcium deposits near origin point of the tendons. People who sit, stand, walk or sleep in incorrect posture can also complain of tendonitis. Other reasons that can lead to tendonitis include:

  • Skipping warm up before exercise
  • Running or jumping wearing improper shoes or on hard surfaces
  • People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, gout, thyroid disorders, etc.
  • People who play physical games like golf, swimming, badminton, etc. just on weekends without proper warmup or equipment.

What are the Common Sites for Tendonitis?

Tendonitis can occur in any part of the body. However, some of the most common sites for tendonitis are as follows:

  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Shin
  • Heel
  • Achilles tendon
  • Base of thumb
  • Wrist
  • Elbow

Symptoms of Tendonitis

Tendonitis leads to swelling and pain in the affected tissues. Some of the other symptoms of tendonitis are as follows:

  • Pain in the affected area, especially during movement
  • Swelling and redness in affected area
  • The affected area feels warm to touch
  • Tenderness
  • At times one may feel a lump in the area of inflamed tendon
  • If there is a tear that causes a gap between the tendons, one may find movement difficult in the affected area

Diagnosis of Tendonitis

Tendonitis is usually diagnosed based on the physical symptoms. If the doctor suspects a fracture, he/she may call for an X-ray. Other than that no other tests are necessary. An MRI scan may help, but it is advised only when any other major disorder that leads to inflammation of the muscles is suspected.

Treatment of Tendonitis

The sooner the tendons heal, the quicker relief one will get. The best thing to do in case of tendonitis is REST. Do not continue to work or play after one observes pain, swelling and inflammation of the muscles. Let these overworked and overused muscles rest for at least a week to a month, based on the location of tendonitis. This will help them heal and gain strength.

Apply ice compression to get relief from the inflammation. It will also help in reducing any swelling or lumps in the affected area. Anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. will prove to be helpful. Make sure you move the affected part like shoulder, knees, hips, etc. slowly and gradually regularly to avoid developing a stiff joint.

If the pain, swelling, redness does not subside within a week, visit a doctor for help. One can prevent tendonitis by following some precautions. Always warm up well before any physical activity like exercise or play. Follow proper posture when sitting, standing or sleeping. Do not lift heavy loads without help. Take rest for at least 15-20 minutes when carrying out repetitive movements or if sitting in one position for too long. Tendonitis tends to heal completely with proper treatment and care. Thus, take rest and follow precautions to heal and avoid inflammation of tendons.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: February 4, 2015