According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 70,000 workers in the U.S. miss work every year due to tendonitis. If you are suffering from this condition, physical therapy for tendonitis is an excellent treatment option that will help you recover more quickly.
What is tendonitis?
Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon.
Tendons are tissues that attach your muscles to your bones. Tendons are thick, tough, fibrous cords that can endure tension. A person suffering from tendonitis feels pain and tenderness just outside the affected joint.
Tendonitis can occur at any age. However, this condition is more common in active people, especially those involved with sports.
What are the Causes of Chronic Tendinitis?
Injury brought about by aging
As you get older, your tendons become less flexible. As a result, tendons are easily injured.
Certain diseases such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and Reiter’s syndrome can cause tendonitis. People with very high blood cholesterol levels may also suffer from tendinitis.
People with jobs that involve repetitive motion, awkward position, forceful exertion, frequent reaching overhead, and vibration tend to suffer from tendonitis.
If you participate in certain sports that involve repetitive motion, especially if you do not use an optimal technique, you may suffer from tendonitis. This can happen if you run, swim, play basketball, baseball, bowling, tennis, or golf.
- Other activities
Activities that involve repetitive motion can cause tendonitis. These include scrubbing, painting, shoveling, raking, sweeping, gardening/landscaping, and woodworking.
What are the Most Common Tendonitis Symptoms?
Symptoms of tendonitis occur at the point where a tendon attaches to a bone. These include:
- Pain in the affected area, especially when moving the limb or joint
- Mild swelling
What are the Common Types of Tendonitis?
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis or Tendonitis in the Shoulder
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that keep the bone in the shoulder socket. This condition typically affects swimmers, tennis players, and any person who frequently lifts their arms above their head in a forward motion. If you do this often, your shoulder tendons will rub together and inflammation can set in.
Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow or Tendonitis in Your Elbow
This condition is also known as lateral epicondylitis, extensor tendinopathy, or lateral tendinopathy. This is a common term used to describe long-term, chronic pain located on the outside of your elbow which sometimes radiates down towards your wrist. This occurs when the tendons in your elbow are overloaded by repetitive motion of your wrist and arm. In addition to athletes who suffer this condition, some people who are affected by this condition include butchers, plumbers, painters, and carpenters.
De Quervain’s Syndrome or Tendinitis in Your Wrist
This condition affects the tendon sheaths extending from above the wrist to the thumb. The sheath that surrounds the tendons between the thumb and wrist become inflamed and moving your thumb becomes painful. This is typically the result of excessive wringing of the wrist or other repetitive movements. Badminton players and production line workers who use the same motion with their wrist repeatedly are affected by this condition. In some cases, this occurs due to rheumatoid arthritis.
Trigger Finger or Thumb
This occurs when your finger or thumb becomes fixed in a bent position because the tendon sheath in the palm of your hand is thickened and inflamed and your tendon cannot move smoothly. People whose jobs involve repetitive hand use and gripping for long periods have a higher risk for this condition. People who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes also have a higher risk of developing this condition. In some cases, trigger finger is a complication associated with carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, especially during the first six months after surgery.
Jumper’s Knee or Patellar Tendonitis
This condition is common among athletes who frequently jump, such as tennis, soccer, volleyball, and basketball players. Track and field players are also prone to developing this condition. The patellar tendon becomes inflamed due to repeated stress. As a result, you will feel pain and tenderness around your patellar tendon and there may be swelling in the affected area.
Peroneal Tendonitis or Tendonitis in the Ankle
Peroneal tendonitis develops when the peroneal tendons in your legs become inflamed. This occurs as a result of increased load and overuse of these tendons which, in turn, leads to the tendons rubbing on your bone. This condition is common in athletes, particularly runners.
The Achilles tendon is the thickest in the human body. It is found at the back of the leg and attaches your calf muscle to the heel of your foot. Achilles tendinitis is a common sports injury but this condition also develops among patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, the condition is caused by shoes that do not properly support the foot or shoes that fit badly. If left untreated, it can become a chronic injury that requires more intensive treatment.
How is Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Tendonitis is usually diagnosed by a physical exam alone. If your doctor finds that you have the symptoms of tendonitis, he or she may order an ultrasound or MRI scans to help determine how thick the tendon is or to check for dislocation and tears. However, these are usually unnecessary for newly diagnosed cases.
What Types of Tendonitis Treatment are Available for Patients?
The main goals of tendonitis treatment are to relieve pain and restore movement to the affected joint as well as to maintain strength in its surrounding muscles while giving it time to heal.
Following are recommended treatments for tendonitis:
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation of the injured tendon.
- Pain relievers
Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. These can help relieve the discomfort that comes with tendonitis. If you don’t want to ingest medicine, however, there are topical creams with anti-inflammatory medication that are available in the market.
Some doctors inject corticosteroid medication around a patient’s tendon to relieve tendonitis. These injections help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, they are not recommended for chronic tendonitis or tendonitis that lasts over three months because repeated injections may weaken tendons and increase a patient’s risk for ruptured tendon.
Physical Therapy for Tendonitis
An exercise program specifically designed to rest the affected tendon while strengthening the surrounding muscles and maintaining overall muscle tone can help accelerate healing.
How can I Prevent Tendonitis?
Following are some steps that will help lower your chances of developing tendonitis:
- Exercise regularly and build your muscle tone.
- Always warm-up before exercising and cool down with stretching after your workout.
- Avoid overusing your joints and doing repetitive motions for a long period.
- Practice proper posture when working at a desk or doing other tasks.
- Do not stay in one position for a long time. You need to move around periodically.
- Make sure to use proper equipment at work and during sports activities.
- If you’re an athlete, do cross-training. This can help you mix up high-impact with lower impact exercise.
If you are suffering from tendonitis, it is best to consult a health professional who is qualified to help you with the most effective tendonitis treatment.
At Vigor Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we provide physical therapy for tendonitis. Vigor Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation is a therapist-owned physical and occupational therapy clinic focused on giving excellent patient-centered service. This involves a hands-on approach and ample treatment time provided by a dedicated therapist.
We will design an exercise plan according to your specific needs.
If you have any questions, you can contact Dr. Voloshin or visit us at our clinic.