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Tendonitis (sometimes spelled tendinitis) is the inflammation of a tendon—which is a thickly corded, rope-like tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. When you move your muscles, the tendons pull the bones. There are tendons throughout your body, but the ones most likely to become inflamed, or red, hot, swollen, and/or painful, are found in the:
These are the parts of your body that are subjected the most to repetitive actions and force. Because tendonitis can occur in different parts of the body, each is often given a name that relates to the sports or activity that may cause it, such as:
If your tendonitis is chronic or severe, and leads to rupture of a tendon—you may require surgical repair. Most cases of tendonitis, however, can be successfully treated with rest, physical therapy, and medications to reduce inflammation and pain.
Tendonitis is usually the result of tendon overuse. It is a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or overuse injury. When you perform the same motions over and over again, the tendons become irritated, leading to inflammation and pain in the joint and surrounding area. Tendonitis can also be caused by a one-time injury, such as a direct trauma to the area.
These are the most common types and their causes:
A certain class of antibiotics, called quinolones, is associated with an increased risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture across all age groups. While this is not a common side effect, when it occurs it can be serious. The Achilles tendon is the most typical body area to experience this side effect, though it can happen in other areas as well. Symptoms of quinolone-related tendinopathy have occurred as early as 2 hours after the initial dose, and as late as 6 months after the medication was discontinued. Younger people generally experience good recovery rates, but permanent damage is possible, and is more commonly experienced by older patients.
Some antibiotics in this class include:
Anyone can develop tendonitis if their tendon becomes irritated enough, but there are some people who may be more prone to developing this condition than others. In general terms, age, working particular jobs, or playing certain sports are the biggest risk factors.
Before diagnosing if you have tendonitis, your doctor will:
Take a medical history. Your doctor will want to know:
A physical examination will allow the doctor to see:
X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasounds will not show if you have tendonitis, but your doctor may want an imaging test to rule out any other type of injury.
Blood tests do not show if you have tendonitis, but if your doctor is concerned about infection or another cause for the pain, he or she may order some blood tests.
The symptoms for tendonitis include:
For some people, there may be:
The prognosis or outlook for tendonitis depends on several factors:
Some people with tendonitis never have a recurrence, while others develop it several times and may get worse, sometimes even rupturing the tendon in severe cases. Long-term irritation from tendonitis could cause tendinosis. Sometimes called chronic tendonitis, chronic tendinopathy, or chronic tendon injury, tendinosis is damage to a tendon at a cellular level, and is theorized to be caused by microtears in the connective tissue in and around the tendon that leads to an increase in tendon repair cells. Essentially—tendinosis is a chronic injury of failed healing in tendons. It can lead to reduced tensile strength, which may, in turn, increase the chance of tendon rupture. Tendinosis is often misdiagnosed as tendinitis due to the limited understanding of tendinopathies by the medical community.
What is the difference between tendinosis vs tendonitis vs tendinopathy? The suffix “itis” means inflammation—the term tendonitis should be used to refer to tendon injuries that have inflammation. The suffic “osis” implies chronic degeneration without inflammation, which best describes tendinosis—chronic tendon injuries of failed healing. Tendinopathy is a more general term that does not specifically detail any pathology of the injury.
If you are prone to developing tendonitis, you may have to make adaptations to reduce the risk of flare-up. This could mean avoiding the activities that trigger the irritation or finding way to adapt how you perform the activities.
Most suggestions for treating tendonitis focus on giving the joint a chance to rest and heal:
The following treatments may be helpful in managing tendonitis:
You may be able to manage tendonitis on your own if it is not making it difficult for you to perform your every day activities. However, contact a doctor if:
You may want to ask your doctor the following questions:
For more information on tendonitis, visit:
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