Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated. It can be a painful condition which can occur anywhere in the body but is more common in the wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee, and heel. Tendonitis is usually caused by overuse and repetitive movements, but it can also be from an injury, structural abnormalities, or diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes. Many cases of tendonitis can be treated with non-surgical methods and with rest.
Tendons are tough cord-like fibers that connect your muscles to your bones. They are strong and flexible, but they are susceptible to degeneration under repeated stress or following trauma. If the tendons become irritated or overstretched, they can become inflamed, and tendonitis can develop. Symptoms can include:
- Pain that is made worse with movement
- Pain during the night
- A lump on the tendon
- A cracking or grating feeling as the tendon moves
- Swelling, redness, and heat in the area
Common Types of Tendonitis
The most common types of tendonitis include:
Tennis elbow is tendonitis that occurs where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bones in the elbow. As the name suggests, playing a racquet sport such as tennis is a common cause of the condition. The repeated motions of the backhand and forearm stroke or a serve with poor athletic form can cause chronic stress to the forearm and cause the tendon to get injured.
Symptoms can include severe burning pain and tenderness at the outer side of the elbow and forearm, stiffness, muscle weakness, and aching. Pain may gradually increase over weeks or months and when movement or pressure is applied to the outer elbow area.
Golfer’s elbow is a type of cumulative trauma injury that results when the tendons that attach to the inner elbow get damaged. This most frequently happens during repetitive motions, such as those used during a golf swing or work activities. The main symptoms of golfer’s elbow include pain that radiates down the forearm and tenderness at the inner side of the elbow that increases during grasping motions and when bending the palm towards the wrist.
The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the shinbone in the lower leg. Sports, such as basketball, that involve running and jumping put repetitive stress on the knee can cause patellar tendonitis. Symptoms can include pain and tenderness at the base of the kneecap, swelling, and a burning sensation. It can lead to small tears in the tendon which can cause it to become damaged and weaken over time.
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury in runners and is often caused by overuse. It affects the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Symptoms include heel pain and tenderness, which can increase when walking or running. Severe cases of Achilles tendonitis can lead to tendon tears.
Tendonitis can’t always be prevented, but you can reduce your chances of developing it by:
- Exercising safely to keep your muscles strong and flexible
- Stretching properly before exercising
- Regularly resting the tendon if you are prone to repetitive movements or overuse (such as while playing sport or due to your occupation).
Orthopedic Care in North Dakota
If you have tendonitis, another orthopedic issue, or if you would like to learn more about the services we provide, schedule a consultation with The Bone & Joint Center to discover what your options are and what treatment may be best for you.