Overview Of Tendinitis

Tendinitis is when a person’s tendons become swollen or inflamed. Tendons are the fibrous materials that attach muscles to bones. A lot of the time, those with tendinitis may also have tendinosis (degeneration of the tendons) at the same time. 

Commonly Associated With

Calcific and Bicipital tendinitis

Causes Of Tendinitis

Tendinitis can result from either injury or overuse, and sports are a common cause. However, this condition may also occur due to the normal processes of aging, as tendons tend to lose elasticity over time.

Also, systemic diseases such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can cause it. 

This condition can happen in any tendon, although the most commonly affected sites include the person’s:

  • Thumb
  • Wrist
  • Knee
  • Elbow
  • Heel (involving the Achilles tendon)
  • Shoulder

Symptoms Of Tendinitis

The symptoms of tendinitis can vary depending on the person’s activities or what is causing their inflammation/swelling. 

Common symptoms can include:

  • Tenderness and pain near and/or along a specific tendon, usually near a joint
  • Pain that worsens with activity or movement
  • Discomfort and pain during the night in the affected area
  • Stiffness of the area in the morning

Exams & Tests

When diagnosing tendinitis, a health care provider will perform a physical exam, during which they will check for signs of pain or tenderness. There are specific tests designed for specific tendon areas. 

In some cases the person’s tendon could be inflamed, and the skin covering it could therefore be red and warm to the touch. 

Other diagnostic tests that could done include:

  • X-ray of the tendon
  • Ultrasound of the area
  • An MRI

Treatment Of Tendinitis

The goal of treating tendinitis is to relieve the person’s pain and also reduce their inflammation.

Common treatments include:

  • Resting the affected tendon (often done using a removable brace or a splint)
  • Applying cold or hot compresses to the affected area
  • Pain medications such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin 
  • Steroid injections into the tendon sheath (for pain control)
  • Physical therapy
  • In rare cases, surgery may be needed to remove inflamed tissue from the specific tendon