Tendonitis (also known as tendinitis) is an inflammatory condition characterized by pain, swelling or impaired performance in a tendon. A tendon is a thick cord that attaches muscle to bone. Tendons act as pulleys to help muscles move a joint. Everybody may be affected by tendonitis but most commonly it affects people over 40 years old. Tendonitis most usually affects the:
Shoulder: The rotator cuff of the shoulder and bicipital tendons
Elbow: The insertion of the wrist extensors and flexors
Knee: Patellar and popliteal tendons and iliotibial band
Leg: The insertion of the posterior tibial tendon in the leg such as the shin splints
Heel: The achiles tendon
Causes of tendonitis
Tendonitis occurs when a tendon moves continuously, when a suddenly move is done, when it is hit, while doing activities at home such as cleaning the house, scrubbing, painting, gardening, shoveling, carpentry, or while doing sports such as playing tennis, golf, bowling, skiing or throwing and pitching or while people exercise only on weekends. Further, tendonitis may appear if the patient has other conditions such as arthritis in a joint or an abnormal or poorly placed bone or joint e.g. length differences in the legs; the presence of gout, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid disorders or unusual medication reactions; tendonitis occurs less commonly due to şnfections caused by a bite of a dog or a cat in a tendon (hand, finger, ankle).
Symptoms of tendonitis
Most commonly tendonitis symptoms include pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area, it may gradually build up or be sudden and severe specially if calcium deposits are present, stiffness or loss of motion (also known as frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis). Some examples include:
Pain at the lateral aspect of the elbow, which becomes worse with grasping and twisting and while playing racquet sports or manual labor.
Pain at the medial aspect of the elbow, which makes it difficult to throw balls or do carpentry
Deep ache in the shoulder and painful range of motion while doing sports such as painting, swimming or throwing balls
Pain in the anterior shoulder (bicipital grove) when bending the shoulder or supinating the forearm
Pain in the anterior knee while jumping and running or when changing position from sitting to standing or when walking or running uphill.
Treatment of tendonitis
Tendonitis is treated by reducing the pain and making it possible to have a normal life. This can be done by:
resting or decreasing activity level which cause pain
putting ice in the affected zone for the first one to two days
splinting and/or immobilization, slinging for rotator cuff tendonitis
strenghtening and stretching exercises once the pain has calmed down
Besides, if tendonitis is severe some other medicines can be given by the doctor. In very rare cases surgery can help to solve the problem if none of the aboved mentioned treatments was successful.
Further, a balanced and healthy diet rich in e.g. fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables and the intake of supplements containing those nutrients have been proved to be very helpful in removing pains and are very helpful for the whole body and specially for joints, tendons and bones.