Tendinitis is a clinical term referring to the inflammation of the tendons which is caused by the repeated injury to affected tendon. Tendinitis can also be due to systemic diseases that decrease the elasticity of the tendons like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
The signs and symptoms of tendinitis typically occur at point of insertion of the tendon to the bone or muscles. Patients describe the pain to be dull and gnawing in character that aggravates with the moving and exertion of the affected limb or joint. Palpation of the lesion will reveal a certain degree of tenderness especially with manipulation and movement of the adjacent articular surface. Acute and chronic tendinitis will present with swelling with some erythema of the superficial skin over the affected site.
A complete and thorough clinical history and physical examination will easily clinch the diagnosis of tendinitis . In some cases, imaging techniques like X-ray may be requested by the physicians to rule out other disorders that can present similarly. The use of ultrasound on the diagnosis of patellar tendinitis may prove to be more specific compared to magnetic resonance (MRI) scans . Although both ultrasound and MRI can be complementarily used in diagnosis of most tendinopathies .
In mild cases of tendinitis, adequate rest, ice packs, and over the counter pain relievers may be all that is needed to relieve the discomforts caused by the local inflammation of the affected tendon. Patients complaining of pain are usually prescribed with anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen to instantly relieve pain. Pain symptoms that are not relieved by rest and pain relievers are often times injected with local cortisone to control local inflammation and pain. The use of injectable corticosteroids however only gives symptomatic relief in a limited period of time and recurrence is very common in these cases .
Chronic tendinitis may benefit from platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections on the actual site of inflammation which have been proven to modulate the chronic signs of tendon inflammations . In the same way, chronic tendinitis can also be treated with physical therapy and muscle strengthening exercises to control the symptoms . Chronic tendinitis that is refractory to other conservative approaches may require the surgical removal of the necrotic tissue to afford permanent relief of the symptoms . A minimally invasive procedure called focused aspiration of scar tissues (FAST) can be performed on chronic tendinitis through a small opening. FAST involves the careful surgical removal of the scar tissues embedded on the tendon while maintaining the integrity of the nearby normal tissues.
Although tendinitis can be caused by sudden injuries on the affected tendon, the majority of cases are caused by tendons that are physically overused and exposed to chronic friction. Most patients who develop tendinitis are those who have occupations and hobbies that require a repetitive movement of a single joint. This chronic stress can cause an acute and chronic inflammation of the affected tendon and joint.
Tendinitis as an occupational disease reaches an incidence rating of 11 cases per one million individuals. Overuse tendinitis of the hand and wrist comprises up to 50% of all sports injury in the United States . Achilles tendinitis occurs 4 to 7 times more frequent in males than in females. There is a male predilection for all forms of tendinitis. Occupational risks like exposure to prolonged vibrations, cold temperature, intense labor, and jobs that require awkward postures increase the risk for tendinitis. The occurrence of calcific tendinitis peaks at 30 to 40 years old and is most common among diabetics .
The exact pathophysiology on the development of tendinitis is grossly unknown. The preponderance of tendinitis to the middle aged suggests that it attacks tendons with decreasing vascularity. The repetitive motions done in limbs during occupational chores predispose the ligaments to microtrauma and friction leading to eventual inflammation of the affected tissues. The close association of tendinitis with systemic immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and gouty arthritis may also suggest an immune mediated pathophysiology.
The following tips are most helpful in preventing the occurrence of acute and chronic tendinitis:
Tendinitis is the inflammation of the fibrous cords that attach the muscles to the bone. Tendinitis usually presents with pain and tenderness adjacent to the joints. It is commonly seen in the shoulder, wrist, elbow, and knees. Tendinitis is often times named after the sport that they are usually associated with, like tennis elbow, pitcher’s shoulder, golfer’s elbow, and jumper’s knee . Majority of tendinitis can be relieved by conservative management like rest, physical therapy, and medications while severe forms require surgical intervention and repair.
Tendinitis is a clinical term referring to the inflammation of the tendons which is caused by the repeated microtrauma and friction to an affected tendon.
Tendinitis generally occurs as a result of overuse, trauma, and inflammation.
Patients will generally present with pain and swelling of the affected tendon. Pain is aggravated with the usage of the adjacent joint.
A thorough physical examination and a complete medical history can ascertain the diagnosis of tendinitis. Imaging studies like X-ray and MRI of the affected limb may rule out other disorders that presents similarly to tendinitis.
Treatment and follow-up
Adequate rest, cold compress and over the counter pain relievers may relieve signs of acute tendinitis. A local injection of cortisone can instantly relieve the chronic pain in tendinitis. Surgical removal of the necrotic and scarring tissues may permanently address the pain symptoms of tendinitis.