The study of a medical studentTendons the strong, fibrous tissues that connect your muscles to your bones are a vital element of your physiology. They’re among the most important cables that keep your body together, and they’re great at their job. However, just because these tissues are strong doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. With constant use, they can be vulnerable to a very common condition called tendonitis

At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, we want to educate our patients about conditions such as tendonitis, as well as potential treatments and preventative options. Here are four things you may not have known about tendonitis:

1. Tendonitis Affects Different Areas

If there’s an area of your body where a muscle is connected to a bone, you can be sure there’s a tendon there, hard at work making it happen. These tendons are also flexible, allowing you to stretch and move your joints. Because tendons are everywhere, different types of tendonitis can arise that affect different areas of your body. Some of the most common areas affected by tendonitis include the ankles, elbows, shoulders, wrists, and heels.

Depending on which area is causing you pain and discomfort, you’ll need to see a corresponding orthopedic specialist for treatment. For example, if you think you may have elbow or wrist tendonitis, it’s time to see an upper extremity specialist. If you’re struggling with lower extremity tendonitis, a foot and ankle specialist can help.

2. Symptoms of Tendonitis May Vary

Tendonitis occurs as a result of stretching a tendon to the point of overextension, or even tearing. When this happens, you’ll likely feel it -- but you may dismiss the pain as minor or temporary until it persists or worsens.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, especially following trauma to the area during work, sports, or other physical activities, you may consider seeing a doctor for a potential tendonitis diagnosis:

  • You find it painful to move or flex the area of the affected tendon
  • Your range of motion in the affected area is limited
  • You feel a “grating” sensation when you move the affected joint
  • The affected area is swollen and inflamed

It’s also important to note that symptoms of tendonitis can resemble those associated with other injuries and conditions. Only an orthopedic specialist can truly give you an accurate diagnosis.

3. Tendonitis Pain Treatment Comes in Several Forms

Tendonitis is a common condition, and at OAA, we employ a variety of methods to treat patients struggling with tendonitis pain every day. The team at OAA is passionate about providing the most conservative, least invasive treatment possible, including completely non-surgical techniques such as:

  • Physician-guided rest
  • Heat and ice application
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections
  • Anti-inflammatory tendonitis pain medication
  • Orthobiologic solutions

For some patients with severe tendonitis, however, tendonitis surgery may be the appropriate option in order to ensure a full, effective, and long-term recovery. At OAA, our orthopedic team specializes in tendon repair using minimally-invasive techniques that minimize pain, cost, and recovery time.

4. Tendonitis Prevention is Possible

If you’re an athlete or someone whose tendons work hard while you’re on the job, it may seem to you that you’re destined for a case of tendonitis. The truth is, with the proper knowledge and techniques, tendonitis can be preventable. Stretching your muscles before physical activity is an excellent way to protect them against all kinds of injuries, ensuring that your tendons are warmed up, flexible, and less vulnerable to being pulled and torn. Additionally, don’t overdo it! Know your limitations, and be sure to rest or switch tasks before you overwork your tendons into a serious state of pain.

Tendonitis is a common yet debilitating condition that can take you off the field, out of work, and away from the activities you love. If you fear you may be living with tendonitis, or you’d like professional guidance in preventing tendonitis in your day-to-day routine, the specialists at OAA are here to help.

At OAA, we’re proud to have board-certified orthopedists who specialize in upper extremities, lower extremities, and sports medicine, all of whom are experienced in treating patients with tendonitis. If you’re ready to start finding relief, schedule your appointment with OAA today or call (610) 973-6200 for more information.