Tendinitis, also called tendonitis, refers to inflammation and irritation of tendons; tendons are the thick cord-like structures that attach muscles to the bones. They are fibrous connective tissues which are tough yet flexible. Tendinitis results in pain and difficulty during movement.
Depending on the site affected, Tendinitis is referred to by different names like-
► Tennis Elbow: This condition results from inflammation of the tendons located around the lateral epicondyle, the part of the elbow that is away from the body when the palms are held facing forwards.
► Golfer’s Elbow: This condition affects the tendons near the medial epicondyle, the part of the elbow that is towards the body when the palms are held facing forwards.
► Pitcher’s Shoulder / Swimmer’s Shoulder: These conditions affect the rotator cuff, a structure at the shoulder that is formed by muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint.
► Jumper’s Knee: This condition refers to inflammation of a tendon attached to the kneecap.
What are the Causes of Tendinitis?
Tendinitis commonly affects the tendons around the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hip, knee and heels. It is commonly associated with overuse or improper use of a body part. More importantly, it is associated with repetitive use of a joint often for occupational reasons. People at risk are basically elderly people and sports persons. Common causes of tendinitis include-
► Sudden injury and trauma
► Excessive exercise
► Improper exercise technique or other job-related activities
► Age related problems: With increasing age, the tendons tend to lose their elasticity
► Overuse of antibiotics like levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin
► Certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, obesity and diabetes
What are the Symptoms of Tendinitis?
Symptoms of Tendinitis include-
► Pain, especially during movement of the affected joint. The pain will be severe in case the tendon ruptures
► Sometimes associated with swelling in the affected limb
How can we Diagnose Tendinitis?
Diagnosis of Tendinitis is based on physical examination of the patient. X-rays and imaging tests may be advised to rule out other conditions like fracture that may be causing the symptoms.
How can Tendinitis be Treated?
Treatment of Tendinitis includes-
► Rest and using ice over the affected part
► Medications: Doctors recommend use of corticosteroids to reduce pain and inflammation due to Tendinitis. Pain killers like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory topical creams are also recommended for pain relief
► Specific exercise programs to strengthen the tendons
► In extreme cases depending upon the severity of the injury, surgery is recommended