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Tendinitis is a condition characterized by inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are thick cords of tissue that attach muscles to bones, allowing for movement of the bones when the muscles contract. Tendinitis can occur in various parts of the body, most commonly in areas where tendons are subject to repetitive stress or overuse.

Tendinitis is often caused by activities that involve repetitive motion, excessive strain on the tendons, or sudden increases in activity levels. Common causes and risk factors for tendinitis include:

  • Repetitive movements or motions, such as those involved in sports, typing, or playing musical instruments.
  • Poor biomechanics or improper technique during physical activities.
  • Overuse of a tendon without adequate rest and recovery.
  • Age-related changes in tendon structure and elasticity.
  • Pre-existing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes that can affect tendon health.

Symptoms of tendinitis may include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the site of the affected tendon, often worsening with movement.
  • Swelling and warmth around the affected area.
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the nearby joint.
  • Gradual onset of symptoms that may become more noticeable over time.

Common types of tendinitis include:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder joint, often causing shoulder pain and limited range of motion.
  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis): Tendinitis affecting the outer part of the elbow, commonly caused by repetitive wrist and arm movements.
  • Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis): Tendinitis affecting the inner part of the elbow, often due to repetitive gripping and wrist movements.
  • Achilles Tendinitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can lead to pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle.
  • Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper’s Knee): Inflammation of the patellar tendon below the kneecap, commonly seen in athletes who participate in jumping sports.

Diagnosing tendinitis is typically done through a physical examination by a healthcare provider. In some cases, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of inflammation.

Treatment for tendinitis focuses on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing:

  • Rest and Avoidance: Resting the affected area and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms is important for recovery.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications can provide temporary relief.
  • Physical Therapy: Therapeutic exercises, stretches, and techniques can improve muscle strength, flexibility, and tendon function.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Bracing or Support: Using braces or supportive devices can help relieve strain on the affected tendon.
  • Gradual Return to Activity: Once symptoms improve, gradually returning to activity under medical guidance is recommended.

Proper medical evaluation and treatment are important to ensure the best possible recovery and to prevent chronic issues. If you suspect you have tendinitis or are experiencing symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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