A tendon is tissue which attaches muscle to bone. Tendons are tough, flexible, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When tendons become inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tears, the condition is called tendonitis. Tendons can be small, like the delicate, tiny bands in the hands, or large, like the heavy, ropelike cords that anchor the calf or thigh muscles. Inflamed tendons (tendinitis) are more likely to get ruptured.
Usually tendinitis is referred to by the body part involved, for example, Achilles tendinitis which affects the Achilles tendon or patellar tendinitis which affects the patellar tendon (jumper’s knee). Tendinitis can occur in various other parts of the body, including the elbow, wrist, finger, or thigh. It is caused by overusing a tendon or injuring it, as may happen during sport.
Tendinitis can affect people of any age, but is more common among adults who do a lot of sports. Elderly individuals are also susceptible to tendinitis because our tendons tend to lose their elasticity and become weaker as we get older.
Each year hundreds and thousands of road traffic accidents occur in South Asia. Most of the tendons got damaged due to that. They may be either partially or completely lost. While on the minor side they get inflamed due to trauma leading to tendonitis.
Tendonitis is more common among sportsman in the region of south Asia. The reason is unawareness of the correct posture for the specific sports they are involved in. Poor posture, repeated stress and increased workload on the tendon beyond its capacity ultimately results in its inflammation.
Causes of Tendonitis
Tendinitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury. There are many activities that can cause tendinitis, including:
- Cleaning house
- Throwing and pitching
Incorrect posture at work or home or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise or playing sports also increases a person’s risk. Other risk factors for tendonitis include:
- An abnormal or poorly placed bone or joint such as length differences in your legs that stresses soft-tissue structures.
- Stress from other conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid disorders or unusual medication reactions.
- Overuse or doing too much work when the tendons to the task taken on. Tendinitis is common in people that play and exercise hard only on weekends.
- Occasionally an infection can cause tendinitis, especially infection from a cat or dog bite to the hand or a finger.
- Awkward positions and postures
- Reaching overhead frequently in case of shoulder tendonitis
- Vibration and forceful exertion
Symptoms of Tendonitis
The main symptom of a tendon injury is pain in the affected tendon, which will usually get worse when you move it. Other symptoms can include:
- Stiffness, which is often worse in the morning
- Weakness in the affected area or being unable to move a joint
- Warmth or redness
- Sensation that the tendon is grating or crackling as it moves (this may be felt on examination)
- Lump that develops along the tendon
- Difficulty in performing movements
- Numbness or tingling sensations
Prevention of Tendonitis
In many cases, tendonitis can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Some helpful strategies include:
- Always warm up before beginning strenuous exercise.
- If you want to intensify your exercise level, do it gradually.
- Use limited force and limited repetitions.
- Stop if unusual pain occurs. Try again later and if pain recurs, stop that activity for the day.
- Avoid activities that require prolonged periods of reaching over your head, such as painting the ceiling. If you must do this kind of work, take frequent breaks.
- Wear shoes that fit properly, especially if you participate in a sport that requires a lot of running, such as track, cross-country or basketball.
Home Remedy for Tendonitis
- Healthy Diet: The food you eat can play a role in tendinitis by encouraging or discouraging inflammation. Eating a nutritious diet, high in lean proteins, antioxidants, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and magnesium can help you battle inflammation and perhaps improve pain caused by tendonitis.
- Oil Massage: Massaging the affected area with olive oil can give you much relief from the pain and inflammation caused by tendonitis. It will also stimulate blood flow in and around the affected muscles. Apart from olive oil, you can also use sesame oil or mustard oil.
- Epsom salt: Another simple way to treat foot tendonitis is to soak your foot in warm water mixed with Epsom salt. This will have wonderful affects for managing symptoms of tendonitis.
- Chickweed: Chickweed is also a popular folk remedy for foot tendonitis. This herb has a number of vitamins and nutrients that help reduce the inflammation, pain, stiffness and tenderness caused by foot tendonitis. Make a paste of this herb and apply it on the affected area.
- Compression: Lumino Cielo provides wider range of compression socks for runners that are suffering from Achilles tendonitis and other sports related problems.
- Braces: Lumino Cielo best range of braces for knee arms and elbows stabilizes the affected area and provides support that assist in healing of tendonitis.
Treatment of Tendonitis
The quicker your tendonitis is treated, the sooner you’ll recover full strength and flexibility.
- RICE Therapy
Follow the 4 steps of RICE therapy for 2 to 3 days to help bring down swelling and support the injury:
- Rest – stop the exercise or activities that caused the injury until you feel better
- Ice – put an ice pack (you could use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) on the injury for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
- Compress – Use Lumino Cielo gloves and socks around the injury site to support it
- Elevate – if possible, keep the injured area raised on a pillow when sitting or lying down
- Support and Bracing
Depending on the location and severity of tendonitis, you may need temporary splinting, bracing or a sling (for tendonitis in the upper extremity). However, it is important to gently and regularly move the joint to avoid getting a stiff, or “frozen,” joint. This is particularly important for tendonitis involving the shoulder.
- Pain Medications
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been found to help pain associated with tendonitis.
- Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy for tendon injuries often involves a special exercise program to help stretch and strengthen the injured tendon and surrounding muscles providing helpful relief and accelerating the healing process.
- Shock wave therapy or surgery
If there is calcific tendinitis (calcium deposits around the tendon) ESWT (extra-corporeal shock wave therapy) may help in persistent cases. A shock wave is passed through the skin, resulting in the calcium deposits breaking up.
This is only rarely needed for severe problems not responding to other treatments.