It is possible to prevent tendonitis by taking certain steps and precautions. Always warm up properly before working out or playing sports. Focus on proper posture and body mechanics throughout the day. Take rest breaks during repetitive activities (such as working at a keyboard), and consider ways to reduce repetitive tasks.
Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. Tendonitis is a painful condition resulting from inflammation in a tendon. The condition is usually associated with inflammation in the lining of the tendon sheath, or tenosynovitis.
Tendonitis commonly affects the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels. Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are two well-known types of tendonitis. Anyone can get the condition, although some activities and occupations increase the likelihood. Mechanics, carpenter, painters, factory and office workers, tennis players and runners are examples of those at risk.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms include pain and swelling in the affected area, which sometimes worsens at night. Numbness, tingling and muscle spasms may also occur. Your doctor will discuss these symptoms with you, and will examine the affected area. You will be asked to bend and straighten the body part with and without resistance. Painful movement is the hallmark of tendonitis.
A conservative course of treatment seeks to reduce symptoms and promote healing. Depending on the affected area, a splint or immobilizer may be worn to allow the tendon to rest. Heat or ice may be recommended. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or steroids may be prescribed to ease swelling. A marked lessening of symptoms should be observed in 6-8 weeks.
If these measures are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend surgery. The goal of surgery is to release the tendon sheath and remove the scar tissue. Tears in the tendon can also be repaired. During the recovery process, the emphasis is on controlling symptoms. Follow-up treatment focuses on restoring strength and flexibility. Physical therapy may be prescribed to guide recovery and help you learn ways to exercise safely.
Although most patients are cured with rest and treatment, permanent pain or discomfort may result from irreparable structural damage to the tendon in some chronic cases.