Tendinitis : A Brief Introduction

Tendinitis Introduction

Tendinitis: A Brief Introduction

What is tendinitis?

We use the term tendinitis many times during joint or limb pain. But, do you know, “what is tendinitis?”

Tendinitis may be defined as inflammation, irritation, injury, or microscopic tear of tendons. And tendons are flexible, tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to the bones.

As a result of tendinitis, there may develop pain, tenderness, and swelling around the joints. In most cases, the cause of tendonitis is not established; but overuse or workload on tendons are the key factors to develop tendinitis.

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Tendinitis can occur in any tendon of the body, but it is more common in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels. Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, Picher’s shoulder, Swimmer’s shoulder, etc., are special types of tendinitis of elbow and shoulder joints.

Age- particularly in older age, some occupations and sports are the important risk factors of tendinitis. Occupations involving repetitive joint movements, bad posture, frequent overhead reaching, vibration, forceful movement play a key role in developing tendinitis. Sports like baseball, basketball, golf, swimming, marathon running, etc. are also significant risk factors for tendinitis.

Tendinitis may present with dull aching pain during movement of the affected limb or joint, tenderness, and swelling.

Rest, physiotherapy and medications to reduce pain are the primary treatment modalities to treat tendinitis. But in severe cases, the tendon may be ruptured, and surgery may be required.

If irritation to a tendon persists for long periods of weeks or months, a condition named ‘tendinosis’ may develop. This condition causes degenerative changes in the tendons, along with abnormal new blood vessel formation.


How Tendinitis Occurs

The primary mechanism to develop tendinitis is overuse or over-workload of tendons. Infection, inflammation, microscopic tear of tendons, some drugs may help to develop tendinitis. Some causes to develop tendinitis are-

  1. Repetitive movements:

Many daily activities can cause tendinitis due to repeated movements of joints, overuse of a tendon, or microscopic injury to the tendons due to heavy workload. For example, gardening, raking, carpentry, cleaning the house, shovelling, painting, scrubbing, playing tennis or golf, skiing, etc., jobs or sports involve repeated same movements and put pressure and increase the workload of tendons and can cause tendinitis.

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  1. Incorrect posture:

Incorrect posture at home, work, or during exercise also increases the risk of developing tendinitis. That’s why sometimes tendinitis is classified as an occupational disorder by some physicians.

  1. Direct injury to a tendon:

If an accident or direct trauma injures a tendon, it may tear, and the scar may form. This tendinitis may persist for an extended period and cause chronic tendinitis.

  1. Inflammation:

Tendon inflammation in other medical conditions, like psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorder, may cause tendinitis. This inflammatory tendinitis may persist for a long period, and primary disease should be treated simultaneously to cure tendinitis.

  1. Diabetes:

Diabetes itself is a cause of tendinitis.

  1. Infections:

In some rare cases, infections may play a role in developing tendinitis.

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  1. Drugs:

Some drugs like statins, fluoroquinolone antibiotics rarely cause tendinitis.

So, avoiding these factors will help you to prevent tendinitis.


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Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin

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