Tendonitis

Repairing Connective Tissue with Tendonitis

A tendon is a band of connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendonitis or tendinitis is the inflammation or irritation of the tendon.

The condition usually affects the elbow, wrist, shoulder, knee, and heel. It causes pain, tenderness, and difficulty moving the affected joint.

Causes of Tendonitis

Tendonitis is caused by a repetitive impact on the affected area. It is seen in people who frequently make the same movements while playing a sport or engaging in activities like gardening, painting, or shoveling. The risk of tendonitis is higher if you’re in a profession that requires physical exertion and repetitive movements daily.

Injury, age, and diseases such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to tendonitis. There is some research indicating the role of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in increasing the risk of tendon rupture.

Symptoms of Tendonitis

You experience a dull pain in and around the injured joint, which worsens when you move the affected area. The area also feels tender and painful when you touch it. The pain may build up gradually.

Stiffness and pain in the shoulder (“frozen shoulder”) and some swelling may also be present.

Rest the injured area and apply ice to it. You can also apply a topical anti-inflammatory gel. If the pain doesn’t subside in a week, seek medical help.

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Diagnosing Tendonitis

Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination of the painful area. They will check for tenderness and range of motion. You will need to disclose the prescription drugs or supplements you’re taking, your involvement in sports and physical activities, recent or past injuries to the affected area, and previously diagnosed medical conditions.

Your doctor may order tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI.

Treating Tendonitis

Once tendonitis is confirmed, your doctor may suggest the following treatment options based on the severity of the condition:

  • Rest, heating pads or ice packs, avoiding heavy lifting, wrapping the area in a compression bandage, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • For more severe conditions, your doctor may recommend: Splints or braces, Corticosteroid injections, Physical therapy, Surgery

Corticosteroid injections reduce pain and inflammation quickly, but they can weaken your tendons and increase the risk of injury.

Recovery from tendonitis can take weeks or months. Early treatment can resolve tendonitis quickly. It can return if you go back to performing the same repetitive motions. Your doctor will advise you on changing those stressful motions to reduce this risk.

If the tendon has ruptured, surgery may be necessary. Your surgeon will make incisions in the skin over the affected tendon, sew the torn ends of the tendon, check for injuries in the surrounding tissue, close the incision, cover the area with dressings, and splint the joint. Chronic tendon issues respond well to physical therapy, which includes eccentric strengthening, range of motion exercises, and certain types of massages. If rest and physical therapy don’t work, your doctor may recommend platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

The natural healing properties of plasma and platelets can promote the healing and repair of injured tendons. You receive injections of a concentration of your platelets to accelerate healing. PRP injections are not painful. Generally, an anesthetic is not needed, however, our team administers a local anesthetic to help you manage discomfort. The injections may cause temporary swelling, pain, and inflammation. You’re advised to rest for a few days and avoid straining the affected joint.

PRP therapy helps reduce pain, repair damage to the tendon tissue, and improve joint function. It works most effectively in conjunction with other treatments.

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Our Santa Monica arm pain specialists, doctors, and the rehabilitation team work with you in helping you manage chronic tendonitis, and overcome musculoskeletal problems. Talk to us to understand how PRP therapy can facilitate faster recovery.

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