The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. The “ball” at the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) fits inside the glenoid socket, where it moves and rotates to allow you to do everything from reaching above your head to throwing a baseball.
Muscles are connected to bones via tendons, so overuse of the shoulder can eventually cause degradation of these tendons. Repetitive motions can wear down the collagen in the tendons in the shoulder joint, and this loss of collagen results in tendonosis.
Many researchers and medical professionals are beginning to believe that what is often diagnosed as tendonitis is actually tendonosis. Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon usually caused by sudden trauma, whereas tendonosis is degradation of the collagen in a tendon caused by repeated pressure.
There are various ways to injure the shoulder due to its wide range of motion and weight-bearing activities we place on them, such as lifting and pushing heavy objects. A shoulder can even be harmed by smaller activities such as how we type or use our digital devices on a regular basis.
What’s the Difference Between Tendonitis and Tendonosis?
Whereas tendonitis is caused by tiny tears in the tendon, tendonosis is the deterioration of the collagen in a tendon due to overuse and the lack of allowing the tendon to rest and heal. Repetitive motion can cause tendonosis if the joint is not allowed to rest enough between movements, or between periods of movements.
When the body rests, it can then naturally replenish the collagen – otherwise the collagen in the tendon continues to deteriorate. Collagen is a fibrous protein that sustains the body’s connective tissues.
Taking breaks between activities that put the same pressure on our shoulders is important in order to avoid rotator cuff tendonosis in the shoulder. When one or more of these tendons are damaged, it can cause severe pain when moving the shoulder. It can also cause a dull ache when at rest.
Causes of Tendon Deterioration
There are many factors that can contribute to developing tendonosis, including the following:
As we get older, tendons lose their elasticity. The ability to repair themselves decreases, and this can lead to degradation and tendonosis.
Repetitive use of the arm can cause damage and fatigue to the tendons in the shoulder and the rotator cuff. Not taking the proper time to allow a joint to heal will lead to further tendon damage.
Many people who work with their arms overhead, such as carpenters, painters, bartenders, and retail personnel, all place a lot of strain on the tendons in their shoulders. They tend to push through the pain rather than taking breaks, but this can ultimately lead to tendonosis.
Who Can Help with My Shoulder Pain?
If you have shoulder pain, it can be painful just to perform simple tasks like getting dressed in the morning. Do not wait any longer while the tendon degradation may be becoming worse – see a skilled and caring orthopedic physician.
Contact us today at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine by calling (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment online, and stop letting your shoulder pain get in the way of living your life to the fullest!