Tendons are the tough bands of connective tissue that connect muscles to bones. Tendons can take on a lot of force, but when too much force is put on them, they can sustain injuries. Tendonitis refers to inflammation in a tendon. Tendonitis is not only painful, it can also limit mobility in the affected area. Tendonitis can happen in a lot parts in the body, including the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels of the feet.
The main symptoms of tendonitis include:
- Pain in the tendon, which can increase when moving
- Restricted or difficult moving the tendon
- A cracking or grating sensation which can be felt or heard when moving the tendon
- Inflammation or swelling, sometimes with heat or redness
- A lump may be felt on the tendon
Tendonitis is often caused by a forceful or sudden movement or from repetitive movements such as throwing, running, and jumping. There are several different treatment options for tendonitis depending on the severity and location of the injury.
Mild tendon injuries can often be treated effectively with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). This can help bring down the inflammation and give the body time to heal the tendon injury on its own. The repair process can take time, but mild injuries usually start to feel better within 2-3 weeks. Taking time off sports or physical activities is often recommended to reduce the chances of further injury to the tendon and to ensure the healing process goes smoothly.
Over-the-counter medications such as anti-inflammatory medicines (Ibuprofen) and topical anti-inflammatory creams or gels can also help to relieve symptoms. However, anti-inflammatories, heat (such as heat compresses and hot baths), alcohol, and massages should try to be avoided unless your doctor says it’s okay. These things can slow down the healing process.
It is beneficial to ensure you have the right balance of nutrients in your diet as this can help to facilitate repair and accelerate healing. Vitamins, minerals, and certain proteins are necessary to ensure cells can work efficiently while repairing the damage. Antioxidants can help the body to repair damage, while healthy fats can help to strengthen your immune system. Without adequate nutrition, the healing process can take longer.
If symptoms don’t improve, your physician may prescribe stronger pain relief medication or steroid injections to reduce the inflammation. In addition, your physician may also recommend physical therapy. Stretching and progressive strengthening exercises can help to target neighboring muscles and connective tissues and build endurance. It can help to restore your range of motion, so you can gradually resume normal activities. Depending on the severity and type of tendonitis, your physician may recommend wearing a special brace or splint to immobilize the area.
Initially, your physician will usually recommend nonsurgical options to restore movement and reduce or eliminate the pain from tendonitis. If the tendonitis is in the wrist, treatments such as hand therapy may be recommended.
In some cases, severe tendonitis may require surgical intervention. Your physician may recommend arthroscopic surgery. This procedure uses fiber optic technology and miniature instruments that are inserted through small incisions to perform surgery. It enables the surgeon to access and examine the injured tendon, perform repairs, and close the incision without damaging surrounding tissue.
Following surgery, your physician will prescribe a rehabilitation program that includes rest and physical therapy to heal and strengthen your body and meet your specific physical needs. Movement early on is important to your recovery, but you should wait for your physician’s approval before you engage in sports or other strenuous activities.
Orthopaedic Care for Tendonitis in San Antonio, Texas
If you have suffered a tendon injury or think you may be suffering from tendonitis, seek advice from the expert physicians at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Our orthopedic physicians can promptly diagnose your condition and determine the best course of treatment to relieve your pain and restore your range of motion.
If you live in San Antonio, Texas and are in need of an experienced orthopedic physician, call us at (210) 692-7400 to schedule an appointment or complete our convenient online form.