Tendinitis is s the inflammation of a tendon – which are as the thick, fibrous, cords that attach our muscles to the bone. This condition causes pain and tenderness just around the joint. It most commonly occurs in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, thumbs, knees and heels.

Tendinitis can be painful, but it can often be healed with some good rest. However,  if you don’t let it rest or get properly treated, it can lead to a severe condition that ruptures the tendon – which can require surgery to fix. For these reasons, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms.

What Causes Tendinitis?

Typically, tendinitis caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden, more serious injury.

Although anyone can get tendinitis, it is more common in those who do repetitive activities. Some of these activities include:

  • Gardening/landscaping
  • Carpentry
  • Shoveling
  • Painting
  • Scrubbing
  • Tennis, golf, skiing, baseball (throwing and pitching)

What are the Symptoms of Tendinitis?

Since tendons hold the muscle and bone together, the symptoms and signs of tendinitis usually occur where the tendon attaches right to the bone and may include:

  • Dull, achy pain in limb or joint
  • Tenderness
  • Mild swelling

How Do I Know if I Have Tendinitis?

In most cases, tendinitis is diagnosed by a physical exam alone. If you have the symptoms of tendinitis, your doctor may order an ultrasound or MRI scans to help determine the severity of damage to a tendon, but these are usually unnecessary for newly diagnosed cases. Your doctor can also assess whether you have similar problems such as bursitis (inflammation of the fluid “cushion” surrounding the joints).

How is tendinitis treated?

If the injury is new, some possible treatments include:

  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the problem
  • Resting the injured area
  • Icing the area the day of the injury
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines

If the condition does not improve in a week, see your doctor. More advanced treatments, including the list below may be necessary:

  • Corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids (often called “steroids”) are often used because they work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy. This can be very beneficial, especially for a “frozen shoulder.” Physical therapy includes range of motion exercises and splinting.
  • Surgery. This is rarely needed and only for severe problems that do not respond to other treatments.

If pain persists or escalates, it is very important to see your orthopedic physician as soon as possible. You can find a team of trained and experienced orthopedic specialists at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, right here, in Newport News, VA.