Tendonitis is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve pushed it too hard. It results from overworking the tendons, the cords of thick connective tissue found throughout the body. When these cords become inflamed or irritated, you can feel pain, swelling, and tenderness. If you’re an athlete or engage in activities that involve overexertion or repetitive motions, you may be at risk of tendonitis.
How do you precisely know you have tendonitis and that it’s time to seek medical treatment? Let’s take a closer look.
With the approximately 4,000 tendons you have throughout the body, you also have thousands of potential spots for tendonitis to occur. However, you’re more likely to develop it in these locations:
- Shoulder (rotator cuff tendonitis)
- Biceps (biceps tendonitis)
- Elbow (tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow)
- Knee (jumper’s knee)
- Wrist (de Quervain’s disease)
- Achilles tendon (Achilles tendonitis)
Tendonitis usually causes pain in the tendons, muscles, and ligaments surrounding a joint, especially after repetitive movement or use. In some cases, you may notice weakness, inflammation, and redness in the affected area.
Other symptoms vary according to location. If you feel symptoms associated with any of the following, it is a sign you need to see an orthopedic doctor for treatment.
· Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
When you have rotator cuff tendonitis, you will feel dull shoulder pain that can’t be tied to one location. The pain often extends into the upper arm toward the chest. It can be worse at night and interfere with your sleep.
· Biceps Tendonitis
Constant overhead movements, such as when tossing a baseball or playing tennis, cause biceps tendonitis. Symptoms include pain when bending your arm or raising it overhead, a snapping sensation in your shoulder area, and tenderness.
· Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons in your elbow get damaged from overuse and repetitive motion, leading to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. The pain usually radiates down the forearm into the wrist.
· Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow produces pain that may radiate down the inner side of the forearm. You may also feel stiffness, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the hand and wrist.
· Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee occurs from either sudden overexertion of the tendon in the lower part of the kneecap (acute jumper’s knee) or from the repetitive strain you put on your knee (chronic jumper’s knee). You may experience throbbing pain beneath the kneecap that may get worse with activity, swelling, bruising, or discomfort.
· De Quervain’s Disease
De Quervain’s disease is a painful condition caused by chronic overuse of the wrist, affecting the tendons in the side of the thumb. If you are suffering from de Quervain’s disease, you will feel pain or tenderness when moving the thumb, grasping something, turning the wrist, or making a fist.
· Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis occurs when you overuse the Achilles tendon—the largest tendon in the body, responsible for connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. You may experience pain along the back of the heel that gets worse with activity, swelling, and stiffness.
If the pain and other symptoms mentioned above don’t ease up after 10 days, or if you notice significant loss of strength and movement, you may have ruptured a tendon. Many of these symptoms are also similar to those of other medical problems, so it proves prudent to see an orthopedic doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Tendonitis is often diagnosed based on a complete medical history, physical examination, and imaging exams (X-ray and/or MRI), the last of which can help rule out arthritis. Joint aspiration—a procedure in which your doctor removes fluid from the space around a joint using a syringe—may also be performed to help rule out gout or infection.
Seeking Tendonitis Treatment from the Best Orthopedic Doctors in San Antonio, TX
Don’t let the symptoms of tendonitis sideline you. At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our board-certified orthopedic doctors have a proven track record of diagnosing and delivering effective treatment for tendonitis and other musculoskeletal conditions, helping many of our patients quickly get back to doing the things they love.
To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic doctors, call us at (210) 692-7400 today, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!