What Is Tendinitis?
Throughout the body, tendons connect muscles to bones, and ligaments connect bones to joints. Both ligaments and tendons are designed to withstand a lot of stretch and to be tough but flexible. When tendons become inflamed, the result is a painful condition called tendinitis. This inflammation most commonly affects the elbow, wrist, heel, leg, or finger. In some cases, treatment may involve tendon repair surgery. Watch for these 4 signs and symptoms of tendinitis.
1. The most common sign
By far, the most prevalent sign of tendinitis is pain and inflammation at the affected joint. Often, this is around the ankle, such as in cases of Achilles tendinitis, or at the elbow, such as in the case of tennis or golfer’s elbow. The area may also feel tender to the touch, and discomfort will likely worsen with movement.
2. Popping or grating sensations
Sometimes, people may experience a cracking or grating sensation along the tendon. This is common in specific types of tendinitis, such as in trigger finger. When a person has trigger finger, the tendon sheath in the palm becomes so inflamed that a person can’t move the finger or thumb out of a bent position. Instead, the finger stays fixed in a bent position and may make a clicking or grating sound when straightening the joint.
3. Swelling and redness
At the core of tendinitis is inflammation, which often translates to swelling or redness. Swelling may be more noticeable if a person tries to push through the pain without resting. For example, people who have jobs that require constant use of the wrists or shoulders may be unable to rest when tendinitis flares.
4. Call the doctor if you experience this
If pain has lingered for more than 10 days and is accompanied by a noticeable loss in the range of motion, speak with a healthcare provider right away. These signs can indicate a tendon rupture, which requires immediate medical attention.
Treatment and surgery options
For some people, rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers can keep tendinitis pain at bay. A pain management specialist may recommend steroid injections to reduce inflammation at the affected joint. In severe cases, tendon repair surgery may be necessary, especially if the tendon is torn or pulled away from the bone.
What else can I do?
In mild to moderate tendinitis cases, people may experience an improvement simply from stopping the activities that cause strain. Specific stretches or physical therapy exercises can also help people move better to prevent injury. At work, set up an ergonomic space that minimizes any excess stress on joints or tendons. For more information about tendinitis and tendon repair surgery, speak with a healthcare provider.
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