What is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis or its aliases: tendinitis, tendinopathy and tendinosis are all tendon injuries. Tendon injuries can develop in many different parts of the body. Essentially where ever there is a tendon that attaches a muscle to a bone.
Tendinopathy (tendon pathology) describes two conditions that are likely to occur together: tendon inflammation, known as tendonitis or tendonitis, and tiny tears in the connective tissue in or around the tendon, known as tendinosis.
What is a Tendon Injury? Read on!
Tendons are the tough fibres that connect muscle to bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. A tendon injury may seem to happen suddenly, but usually it is the result of many tiny tears to the tendon that have happened over time. Health professionals may use different terms to describe a tendon injury. You may hear:
Tendonitis or Tendonitis: This actually means “inflammation of the tendon,” but inflammation is rarely the cause of tendon pain.
Tendinosis: This refers to tiny tears in the tissue in and around the tendon caused by overuse.
Most experts now use the term tendinopathy to include both inflammation and microtears. But many health practitioners and certainly the general public still prefer to use the term tendonitis out of habit.
Common Tendinopathies / Tendonitis / Tendinitis / Tendinosis Injuries
Achilles Tendon Rupture
Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
de Quervain Tenosynovitis
Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
Patella Tendonitis (Tendinopathy)
Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendinitis
Rotator Cuff Tear
RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury
What Causes a Tendonitis?
Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or ageing. Anyone can have a tendon injury, but people who make the same motions over and over in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.
A tendon injury can happen suddenly or little by little. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened over time. The best results occur with early diagnosis and intervention.
What are the Symptoms of Tendinopathy?
Tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area.
The pain may get worse when you use the tendon.
You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation.
You may notice a crunchy sound or feeling when you use the tendon.
The symptoms of a tendon injury can be a lot like those caused by bursitis.
How is a Tendon Injury Diagnosed?
To diagnose a tendon injury, your doctor or physiotherapist will ask questions about your past health, your symptoms and exercise regime. They’ll then do a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis. If your symptoms are severe or you do not improve with early treatment, specific diagnostic tests may be requested, such as an ultrasound scan or MRI.
Persisting tendon injuries are best managed by a sports physiotherapist. Researchers have found that tendon injuries respond differently to muscle injuries and can take months to solve or leave you vulnerable to tendon ruptures, which usually require surgery.
This has two important issues:
Ensure you have an accurate diagnosis.
Ensure that your rehabilitation is targeted at either the muscle injury or tendinopathy.
Return to Sport after Tendonitis
As soon as you are cleared by your physiotherapist, you can return to your activity, but take it easy for a while. Don’t start at the same level as before your injury. Build back to your previous level slowly, and stop if it hurts. Warm up before you exercise, and do some gentle stretching afterward. After the activity, apply ice to prevent pain and swelling.
If these steps don’t help, you may require a re-visit to your physiotherapist. It may take weeks or months for a tendon injury to heal. Be patient, and stick with your treatment. If you start using the injured tendon too soon, it can lead to more damage.
To keep from hurting your tendon again, you may need to make some long-term changes to your activities.
Try changing your activities or how you do them.
If exercise caused the problem, check your technique with a coach or sports physiotherapist.
Always take time to warm up before and stretch after you exercise.
Please understand that every tendinopathy is different and the demands of each individual differs.
Your physiotherapist with a special interest in tendinopathy rehabilitation is the best person to consult for your specific needs.