The muscles are attached to the bone through tendons. When a muscle contracts, the tendon responds, enabling the bone to move. It is possible to sustain injury to the tendons, with tendonitis being the most common one. But what is tendonitis, how does it occur, and how do you prevent it?
Understanding What Tendonitis Is:
Very simply put, tendonitis happens when the tendon becomes inflamed. Usually, this happens after you repeatedly use a certain tendon (for instance while running), or if you make sharp, sudden movements (a tennis serve or a jump, for instance).
Tendonitis Signs and Tendonitis Symptoms:
Tendons are found all over the body, and tendonitis can affect all of them. This includes the back of the heels, fingers, knees, wrists, elbow, and shoulders. The most common signs and symptoms for tendonitis include:
– Pain that increases when the affected area is moved
– Stiffness, which often becomes worse on waking up
– Weakness, sometimes to the point of losing movement
– A crackling or grating feeling in the affected area
– Swelling, which is sometimes accompanied by redness or heat
When to See a Physician?
Usually, tendonitis can be treated with at home remedies, and you should see an improvement in a few weeks. However, if your pain is severe, or if you do not notice any improvement, then you may need to see a physician. If you believe you have ruptured your tendon, you should see your physician immediately. A physician knows what is tendonitis, so they will be able to diagnose you properly, usually through a simple examination. However, MRI scans, ultrasound scans, or x-rays may be required for confirmation. You may also be prescribed medication. If you already take statins or fluoroquinolone antibiotics, you will need to stop taking them.
If you believe you have tendonitis, stop the activity that you were engaged in, and rest. As you improve, return to the activity very slowly and gently. Take over the counter painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for relief. If the pain persists, you may be referred to a physiotherapist and/or be prescribed medication, such as shock wave therapy or corticosteroid injections. For long term injuries that do not respond to treatment, surgery may be required.
You can prevent tendonitis by:
– Properly warming up and cooling down before and after exercise
– Using the right equipment the right way
– Receiving proper training on how to perform certain movements
– Stretching and strengthening your tendons, possibly under guidance of a physiotherapist
– Avoiding any type of repetitive movements, including typing
– Always taking breaks to give your tendons a rest
– Making sure that, if you have a desk job, your mouse, keyboard, and desk are in a comfortable, ergonomic position
– Asking for extra rest periods, posture assistance, and wrist supports from your employer if you have to make repetitive movements for your job
Tendonitis is not usually a serious condition. Rather, it is a way for your body to tell you that you are expecting too much of it. Your tendons need to rest regularly so that they can continue to do their job.