Tendinitis: A Common Result of Tendon Damage
Tendinitis is a very common result of tendon damage that many of us are likely to experience once in a while. This is a condition in which a tendon within the body becomes inflamed. Inflammation is a natural process within the body that works alongside the immune system as a response to harmful items such as bacteria, toxins, tissue damage, etc. Inflammation causes more blood to flow to the affected area which often results in redness, swelling, and warmth. Although this is a natural bodily process, it can easily become more of a hindrance than an aid, as is the case with tendon damage.
Symptoms of Tendon Damage
When a tendon becomes inflamed, the tell-tale symptoms of inflammation may not always be obviously detectable. Although the general area may be visibly swollen and warm to the touch, one of the more prominent symptoms is achiness or pain. The severity of the pain and the frequency of which it occurs depends on how long the tendon has been damaged and whether the inflammation is chronic (recurring) or acute. Some individuals experience a burning sensation around the tendon and stiffness of the joint. Typically the pain and stiffness worsen with movement and if the condition is left untreated or if the tendon is severely damaged then movement may be very limited. This is because the surrounding muscles tighten in response to the damaged tendon.
What Can Cause Tendinitis?
There are quite a few causes of tendonitis. In many cases tendon damage is the result of an injury, such as one would experience while playing sports. Overuse of the tendon or exposing it to continuous repetitive movements can lead to the gradual development of tendinitis which may be less detectible. Infection is another way that tendinitis can develop. As bacteria finds its way into the tendon sheath, the ensuing infection can trigger’s an inflammatory response from the surrounding tissues, thus leading to the development or worsening of symptoms.
Tendinitis can also be caused by medical conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, and gout are a few conditions that could lead to the development of tendinitis. Unless the underlying condition is treated, the corresponding tendinitis is likely to be recurring and difficult to treat.
How to Treat Tendonitis
The treatment of tendinitis largely consists of conservative measures. One should begin by resting the tendon. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are ideal as they not only help to relieve pain but also reduce the effects of inflammation. The use of a brace or bandage while elevating the limb can have a profound improvement on reducing swelling as well as providing extra support to stabilize the tendon and surrounding muscles. Ice should be applied for twenty minutes at four hour intervals for the first 48 hours after the initial injury. If the tendinitis has developed over time, ice should be applied as soon as pain or stiffness begins to flare up. Typically the initial recovery time for tendinitis is about three days, however full recovery can take as long as four to six weeks. During this time one should take extra caution with their injury and reduce activity whenever possible. If activity is necessary then it is recommended that one perform a few warm up exercises before the activity.
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended for temporary relief of pain and the reduction of inflammation; however this is not intended to be a long-term treatment of chronic tendinitis. Anyone who suffers from recurring bouts of tendinitis should speak to their doctor about other possible treatments or ways to prevent a tendinitis flare up.