Tendonitis is considered a sports injury but it can affect a person who doesn’t play any sports. Tendonitis is also known and tendinitis. Tendinitis is an acute injury with inflammation that occurs when someone injures or overuses the tendons. Tendinitis can affect any part of the body like the elbow, wrist, finger, calf, and thigh. It can affect people at any age but is more common among those who play a sport or perform any repetitive action. Tendinitis can affect older people whose tendons have lost elasticity and have become weaker.
Tendonitis can be healed and prevented, however, without proper treatment, it can lead to cause tendon rupture that may require surgery. Calcium deposit around the tendon also requires to be surgically removed.
Types of Tendonitis
Tendonitis affects different parts of the body. Depending on the part of the body it is affecting, it can be classified into six types.
When the tendons around the top of shoulder joints get affected it is known as Supraspinatus tendinitis. It causes pain and inflammation in the upper arms and shoulders.
Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow
The name may seem like a sports injury, but this can affect any person who is involved in any form of activity that requires repetitive movement of the wrist and elbow. It could be typing, sewing, playing musical instruments like violin or cello, or carpentry work.
This is a common sports injury but it is also common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. An ill-fitting shoe can also cause this. This is the type of tendinitis that mostly needs surgery.
De Quervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis
This tendinitis affects the thumb tendons. It becomes extremely painful to move the thumb.
This one again affects the fingers. The fingers click when straightened out. It can also become fixed in a bent position. Often a nodule forms along the tendon.
This particular type is most common among badminton players. This is more of a degenerative condition.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Tendonitis
The diagnosis and treatment of tendonitis need special skills. It is best to visit a sports injury clinic to get the best treatment. The doctor usually carries out a physical examination. The doctor may look for a creaky sound while moving the tendon. If there is tenderness at any specific point, the doctor may diagnose it as tendonitis. The doctor may even ask for an X-ray to check the calcium deposit. Ultrasound and MRI are often done to check the swelling.
The RICE method is considered the first line of treatment for tendonitis. RICE stands for rest, ice compression, and elevation. The second line of treatment includes OTC drugs like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. An expert sports physiotherapist can also perform physical therapy. The physiotherapist may also recommend some stretching exercises to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon.
The third line of treatment includes corticosteroid injections. The flip side is that repeated injections may further weaken the tendons increasing the chances of rupture.
The final stage of treatment is surgery. Achilles Tendonitis often requires surgery. However, surgery comes with certain risks like excessive bleeding, nerve damage, infection, blood clot, complications from anesthesia, and continued pain post-surgery.
How to Prevent Tendonitis
The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is applicable for tendonitis also. It is important not to ignore persistent pain. In most cases, tendonitis is reversible when detected early. The steps that you can take to follow tendonitis are as follows.
Stretching and Exercise
Tendonitis is not exclusive to sportsperson but it is common among them. It is important to stretch properly before and after any sporting activity. Regular exercise is important for both sportsperson and non-sportsperson. Regular strengthening exercises help the muscles around the tendons to grow strong and prevent tendonitis. However, often wrong exercise posture can add to the development of tendonitis. Therefore, it is important to exercise under the guidance of a trained physical trainer.
Avoid Repetitive Movement
A major cause of tendonitis is repetitive movements. Therefore, avoid repetitive movements and take intermittent breaks. If a person’s job involves repetitive movement like stitching and typing, then it is important to take frequent breaks.
Cost of Surgery for Tendonitis
Surgery can be performed both in out-patient or after taking admission to the hospital. The surgery is usually included in the health insurance plan. The approximate cost of surgery is $3200 for tennis elbow and $5730 for Achilles tendons. This package includes doctor, nurse, anesthesia, room tariff, and medicine. Surgery is a decision that you should consider only when everything else fails.