Tendonitis (also called tendinitis or tendinopathy) is an irritated or inflamed tendon.It commonly happens in the elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, Achilles tendon and base of the thumb.
What causes tendinitis?
Tendinitis can be caused by a sudden injury. But repeating the same movement over time is a much more likely cause. Most people develop tendinitis because their jobs or hobbies involve motions that they repeat, over and over.
Symptoms of tendonitis
The main symptoms of tendonitis are:
- pain in a tendon that gets worse when you move
- difficulty moving the joint
- feeling a grating or crackling sensation when you move the tendon
- swelling, sometimes with heat or redness
Types of tendonitis
Common types of these tendon problems include:
- Lateral epicondylitis. This is most often known as tennis elbow. It causes pain in the backside of the elbow and forearm, along the thumb side when the arm is alongside the body with the thumb turned away. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist back and away from the palm.
- Medial epicondylitis. This is most often known as golfer's or baseball elbow. It causes pain from the elbow to the wrist on the palm side of the forearm. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm.
- Rotator cuff tendonitis. This is also known as biceps tendonitis. It’s a shoulder disorder. It causes inflammation of the shoulder capsule and related tendons.
- DeQuervain's tenosynovitis. This is the most common type of tenosynovitis disorder. It causes swelling in the tendon sheath of the tendons of the thumb.
- Trigger finger or trigger thumb. This is a type of tenosynovitis. The tendon sheath becomes inflamed and thickened. This makes it hard to extend or flex the finger or thumb. The finger or thumb may lock or "trigger" suddenly.
How is tendonitis treated?
The condition often gets better with rest, but treatment may be needed if the pain persists. The best treatment will depend on which tendon is affected.
Treatment may include:
- Changing your activities
- Icing the area to reduce inflammation and pain
- Putting a splint on the area to limit movement
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce inflammation and pain
- Antibiotics if due to infection
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