Tendonitis

Introduction

Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that can develop in a tendon. Tendons are strong fibers that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendonitis most frequently results from overuse of a joint. Symptoms include pain and tenderness. Most cases of tendonitis are relieved with rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Chronic tendonitis may require surgery if symptoms are intolerable despite nonoperative treatment.

Anatomy

Tendons are strong fibers that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons vary in size and shape, from the small ones in your fingers to the large ones in your legs. Your tendons and muscles move the bones in your joints.

Causes

Tendonitis results when the tendons are irritated in some way. Tendonitis develops because of overuse, injury, structural abnormalities, or diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes. Tendonitis commonly occurs at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and heel.

Symptoms

Tendonitis causes pain and tenderness, especially near a joint. Your pain may increase with movement or activity. Pain may be present at night. The skin covering your tendon may be warm and red.

Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose tendonitis by reviewing your medical history and conducting an examination. You should tell your doctor about circumstances that may have contributed to your condition. Your doctor will examine your muscles and tendons and will ask you to perform certain movements against resistance. There are specific examinations for each tendon.

Treatment

There are several different treatment options available to reduce pain and inflammation associated with tendonitis. A splint, cast, or brace may be necessary to allow your tendons to rest and heal. Your doctor may recommend using an ice pack, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone injections. Physical or occupational therapy can help to restore function and prevent future injury.

Surgery

Surgery may be necessary to relieve chronic changes or inflammation around a tendon. Chronic tendonitis can cause a tendon to degenerate and tear. Surgery may be required to repair tendons that rupture as a result of chronic degeneration and inflammation. Surgical techniques vary depending on the condition and location of the tendon.

Recovery

Recovery from tendonitis is individualized and depends on many factors. Your doctor will let you know what to expect.

Prevention

You may prevent tendonitis by exercising to keep your muscles strong and flexible. Stretching properly is very important.