Tendinitis – The Basics, Signs, Tests and Treatment of the Tendon Injury
Tendons are important anatomical structures of the body. It is a tough, yet flexible band of fibrous tissues that connect the muscles to the bones. It transmits the force of muscle contraction to the bones in order to cause movement. Sometimes, tendons tend to become inflamed due to various reasons. The action of pulling the muscle becomes irritating to the tendons. If the normal and smooth gliding motion of the tendon is impaired, it will become inflamed in the long run, and the movement will be painful. This condition is called tendinitis.
What is Tendinitis?
Tendinitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of a tendon. More often than not, it is accompanied by pain within the affected joint. Tendinitis happens in any of the body’s tendons, particularly in areas around shoulders, wrists, elbows and heels. Though it is mainly due to a sudden injury, the condition is more likely brought about by the repetition of the movements that wears off the tendons.
Tendinitis injuries are more visible in the rotator cuff attachments of the upper and lower limbs and are less common in the torso and hips. The frequency and severity of the condition varies depending on the type and frequency of the use of the joints. For instance, people who engage in sports that involve jumping develop Achilles tendinitis.
What are the symptoms and how can it be detected?
Symptoms of tendinitis include tenderness of the tendon and the surrounding joint, dull pain, and mild inflammation. Physical examinations alone could diagnose a person if he is suffering from tendinitis. The physician might order several imaging tests like X-rays to rule out underlying conditions that cause the occurrence of signs and symptoms.
What can be done to treat tendinitis?
If it happens that tendinitis is the diagnosis, there are several treatment modalities that could be used in alleviating discomfort of tendinitis. These treatments include medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Initially, the pain and swelling may be alleviated temporarily using cold compress over 20- 30 minutes. Corticosteroids are prescribed to relieve tenderness and reduce swelling of the affected area from within. On the other hand, surgery is the last option if the tendon injury is severe.
In treating tendinitis at home, the acronym PRICE is utilized to speed up the recovery of the tendon and help prevent further complications or problems on the affected joints. PRICE includes:
1. Protection. Protect the affected area by immobilizing to promote healing and to prevent further injury to the tendon. Immobilizing may use splints, elastic wraps, crutches, slings, and canes.
2. Rest. Rest is necessary in promoting tissue healing. Therefore, avoid activities that promote pain and swelling.
3. Ice. Apply ice to the injured area for at least 20 minutes. This could decrease pain, swelling, and muscle spasm.
4. Compression. Compressing the injured area could cease further swelling. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages are utilized for compression of tendon and joints.
5. Elevation. If tendinitis involves the knees, raise the affected leg above the level of the heart to promote venous return and prevent further swelling.