Sports injury

Tendonitis

Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is a common condition characterised by inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are thick fibrous cords that connect muscles to bones, and they play a crucial role in facilitating movement and providing stability to joints.

Tendonitis can occur in any tendon in the body but is most commonly seen in areas subjected to repetitive movements or overuse.

Causes & Risk Factors

Tendonitis often develops as a result of repetitive movements or overuse of a particular tendon. Those in repetitive tasks, and individuals with poor posture or improper biomechanics are at increased risk of developing tendonitis.

Other contributing factors include age-related changes in tendon structure, inadequate warm-up or stretching before physical activity, and underlying conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.

Types of Tendonitis

There are several types of tendonitis, each affecting different tendons in the body. Some common types include:

  • Achilles Tendonitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis): Inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow, typically caused by repetitive wrist and arm movements.
  • Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis): Inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the elbow, often due to repetitive gripping or lifting.
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint, commonly seen in athletes involved in overhead activities.
  • Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee): Inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shinbone, often seen in athletes who participate in jumping sports.

Signs & Symptoms of Tendonitis

Symptoms of tendonitis can manifest differently based on the specific tendon involved and the degree of inflammation. 

  1. Pain or Tenderness: The most prevalent symptom of tendonitis is pain or tenderness localized to the affected tendon. This discomfort may range from mild to severe and can be exacerbated by movement or pressure.

  2. Swelling, Redness, or Warmth: Inflammation of the tendon can lead to visible swelling, redness, or increased warmth in the surrounding area. Swelling may be noticeable upon palpation or visual inspection of the affected tendon. 

  3. Stiffness and Restricted Range of Motion: Tendonitis can result in stiffness and a diminished range of motion in adjacent joints. Individuals may experience difficulty fully extending or flexing the affected joint, leading to functional limitations in daily activities. 

  4. Aching or Burning Sensation: Many individuals with tendonitis report experiencing an aching or burning sensation, particularly during or after physical activity. This discomfort may be localised to the site of the inflamed tendon or radiate along the length of the affected limb. 

It is essential to note that the severity and duration of symptoms can vary and may fluctuate over time. Some may experience intermittent symptoms that worsen with certain activities. 

Early diagnosis and appropriate management can help alleviate symptoms, prevent progression, and facilitate a timely return to normal activities.

Kinesio Taping on Muscles Calf Runner

 

Treatment Options

Effective treatment of tendonitis typically involves a combination of rest, activity modification, and various therapeutic interventions. Some common treatment options include:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms and allowing the affected tendon to rest and heal.
  • Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises, stretches, and manual therapy techniques prescribed by a physical therapist can help improve flexibility, strength, and function.
  • Bracing or Splinting: Using braces or splints to immobilize and support the affected area, reducing stress on the tendon.
  • Steroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation, particularly if other treatments have been ineffective.
  • Shockwave Therapy A non-invasive treatment involves delivering shockwaves to the affected tendon, promoting healing and reducing pain.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP injections can help stimulate tissue repair and regeneration, accelerating the healing process.
  • Surgery: In rare cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair or remove damaged tissue.

Prevention Strategies

While tendonitis cannot always be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition:

  • Gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activity to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Warm up properly before engaging in exercise or sports activities to prepare your muscles and tendons for movement.
  • Use proper technique and form during physical activity to minimise strain on your tendons.
  • Wear appropriate footwear that provides adequate support and cushioning for your feet and ankles.
  • Take regular breaks during repetitive tasks to rest and stretch your muscles and tendons.
  • Listen to your body and pay attention to early warning signs of tendonitis, such as pain or discomfort.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest and recovery.

 Tendonitis is a common and often painful condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or activity level. 

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for tendonitis, you can take proactive steps to manage this condition and prevent it from interfering with your daily activities and quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of tendonitis or have concerns about your tendon health, don’t hesitate to contact me

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