Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — any one of the thick fibrous cords that attaches muscle to bone. 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, physical therapy and medications to reduce pain.
Tendons are thick fibrous cords that attach muscles to bone. Overuse or strain on a joint can irritate tendons and result in tendinitis. ...
Signs and symptoms of tendinitis occur at the point where a tendon attaches to a bone and typically include:
When to see a doctor
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 put stress on the tendons needed to perform the tasks. Using proper technique is especially important when performing repetitive sports movements or job-related activities. Improper technique can overload the tendon — which can occur, for instance, with tennis elbow — and lead to tendinitis.
Risk factors for developing tendinitis include age, working in particular jobs or participating in certain sports.
Without proper treatment, tendinitis can increase your risk of experiencing tendon rupture — a much more serious condition that may require surgical repair.
Preparing for your appointment
You may initially bring your signs and symptoms to the attention of your family physician, but he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in sports medicine or rheumatology — the treatment of conditions that affect the joints.
What you can do
For tendinitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What to expect from your doctor
Questions your doctor may ask include:
Tests and diagnosis
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 and drugs
The goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve your pain and reduce inflammation. Often, taking care of tendinitis on your own — including rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers — may be all the treatment that you need.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To treat tendinitis at home, R.I.C.E. is the acronym to remember — rest, ice, compression and elevation. This treatment can help speed your recovery and help prevent further problems.
Although rest is a key part of treating tendinitis, prolonged inactivity can cause stiffness in your joints. After a few days of completely resting the injured area, gently move it through its full range of motion to maintain joint flexibility.
You can also try over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), in an attempt to reduce the discomfort associated with tendinitis.
To reduce your chance of developing tendinitis, follow these suggestions:
Last Updated: 2011-11-08
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