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What Is Tendinitis? Houston Sports Med Doc Answers

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Tendinitis (also spelled “tendonitis”) is a very common condition that occurs when a tendon (thick cord connecting muscle to bone) becomes inflamed. There are tendons all throughout the body that may become irritated or inflamed, leading to pain and limited range of motion.

Tendinitis goes by many different names depending on where in the body it occurs. For example, these are all specific types of tendinitis that we’ve written about before on the Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics Blog:

What Causes Tendinitis?

Typically, tendinitis occurs when a tendon is subject to repetitive motion. Baseball pitchers, for example, may develop tendinitis in the shoulder; runners may get Achilles tendinitis (in the heel) from intense speed-training sessions; tennis players may get tendinitis in the elbow (“tennis elbow”) from extensive training and competing.

Tendinitis is not exclusive to athletes. Many occupations that require repetitive motions can lead to tendinitis. Additionally, risk may increase as the result of age, injury, or certain chronic illnesses like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

How Do I Know if I Have Tendinitis?

Symptoms of tendinitis may include pain (typically a dull, aching pain), tenderness and some swelling. The only way to know for sure that you have tendinitis is to see a doctor for an exam. Your sports medicine physician or primary care doctor may be able to diagnose tendinitis simply by examining the affected area and asking you questions about your symptoms and medical history. In some cases, an X-ray may be ordered to rule out other possible causes of your pain.

How Is Tendinitis Treated?

The good news is that tendinitis can often be resolved through conservative at-home therapies, such as R.I.C.E. and the use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Physical therapy and corticosteroids may be helpful for some patients with more complex symptoms.

How Can I Prevent Tendinitis?

While tendinitis prevention cannot be guaranteed, you can reduce your risk by cross-training, improving technique (in sport), stretching/warming up before activity, and stopping any repetitive activities that are causing you pain.

Tendinitis Questions? See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor.

To learn more about how we help patients with tendinitis in the Houston area, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.