Paspa Physical Therapy

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is a fairly common problem that afflicts many people.  It is often caused by overuse, improper warmup, or poor body mechanics. It is important to understand its symptoms and get immediate treatment so that you can avoid this condition or prevent re-injury.

What is Tendonitis?

A tendon is a thick rope-like cord that attaches a bone to a muscle. Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon; the most common cause is overuse. It manifests through pain at the site of the injured tendon. The pain may be chronic, or it may come on suddenly and feel sharp. For many people they may initially feel pain when, for example, at the beginning of a run, once warmed up they may be pain free and then painful again when the tendon has cooled down. Tendonitis can sometimes be confused with a muscle strain. The way to distinguish between the two is that with a muscle strain, the pain is felt in the muscle itself, whereas in tendonitis, the pain is felt near where the muscle attaches to the bone.

Who gets Tendonitis?

Although tendonitis can occur at any age, it is more common in adults over 40 years of age. As tendons age, they tolerate less stress and are less flexible.

Where does Tendonitis occur?

Tendonitis can occur at almost any site of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle.

Some common names that indicate frequent sites for tendon problems are:

  • Golfers Elbow (inner part of the elbow)
  • Tennis elbow (outer part of the elbow)
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis (top of the shoulder)
  • Patella tendonitis (front of the knee)
  • Achilles tendonitis (back of the heel)

How is Tendonitis treated?

The quicker your tendonitis is treated, the sooner you will be on your way to recovering full strength and flexibility.  Many cases of tendonitis can be successfully treated with rest, ice, compression (a sleeve or wrap), stretching, and modification of activities. Temporarily avoiding activities or movements that aggravate the site of the pain and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain are usually recommended. If pain does not improve in a few days it is wise to seek out medical help and physical therapy to work on the flexibility and strength of the involved tendon, and possibly modify mechanics (how one performs the physical activity).

How long does it take for a tendon to heal?

This may be as soon as 2 to 3 weeks or as long 6 weeks after your injury. It depends how long you waited to get help.  The sooner the better.  If you wait months to seek medical attention, then it could take 4-6 months to return to normal physical activity.  

How do I prevent Tendonitis from returning?

Your physical therapist will recommend proper stretching and strengthening techniques. They will perform manual techniques to increase blood flow and promote healing. They may also need to modify your biomechanics (how you perform the activity). Other tips include:

  • Always warm up before beginning exercise.
  • Take breaks to relieve stress on your tendons by varying your workouts and not performing one activity for hours at a time.
  • Protect the tendons when initially returning to the task or sport. For example, wear a knee strap when returning to running or a wrist splint while doing yard work or using the computer.

Its important to stay healthy and maintain your fitness level.  

If you would you like to receive insights into your exercise routine and get personalized recommendations on your form and motion? If so, please contact Paspa Physical Therapy today to talk with a physical therapist on staff.

Many cases of tendonitis can be successfully treated with rest, ice, compression (a sleeve or wrap), stretching, and modification of activities. Temporarily avoiding activities or movements that aggravate the site of the pain and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain are usually recommended.

This may be as soon as 2 to 3 weeks or as long 6 weeks after your injury. It
depends how long you waited to get help. The sooner the better. If you wait months to seek medical attention, then it could take 4-6 months to return to normal physical activity.

Your physical therapist will recommend proper stretching and strengthening techniques. They will perform manual techniques to increase blood flow and promote healing.

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