Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — any one of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. The condition causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint. While tendinitis can occur in any of your body's tendons, it's most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists and heels.
Some common names for various tendinitis problems are:
If tendinitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgical repair. But most cases of tendinitis can be successfully treated with rest and medications to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Complications of Tendinitis
Without proper treatment, tendinitis can increase your risk of experiencing tendon rupture — a much more serious condition that may require surgical repair.
Causes of Tendinitis
Although tendinitis can be caused by a sudden injury, the condition is much more likely to stem from the repetition of a particular movement over time. Most people develop tendinitis because their jobs or hobbies involve repetitive motions, which aggravate the tendons needed to perform the tasks.
Signs & Symptoms of Tendinitis
Signs and symptoms of tendinitis occur at the point where a tendon attaches to a bone and typically include:
Diagnosis of Tendinitis
Tendinitis can usually be diagnosed during the physical exam alone. Your doctor may order X-rays or other imaging tests if he or she needs to rule out other conditions that may be causing your signs and symptoms.
Treatments of Tendinitis
The goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve your pain and reduce inflammation. Often, home treatment — which includes rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers — may be all that you need. Other treatments for tendinitis include:
Sometimes your doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication around a tendon to relieve tendinitis. Injections of cortisone reduce inflammation and can help ease pain. However, repeated injections may weaken a tendon, increasing your risk of rupturing the tendon.
You might benefit from a program of specific exercise designed to stretch and strengthen the affected muscle-tendon unit.
Depending on the severity of your tendon injury, surgical repair may be needed.
Prevention of Tendinitis
To reduce your chance of developing tendinitis, follow these suggestions:
When to seek Medical Advice
Most cases of tendinitis can respond to self-care measures. See your doctor if your signs and symptoms persist and interfere with your day-to-day activities for more than a few days.