These are the Telltale Signs of Tendonitis

Apr 03, 2023
These are the Telltale Signs of Tendonitis
Tendonitis is a common injury that can happen at any age. Prompt treatment is essential for preventing more serious problems that could lead to disability. Here’s what symptoms you should look for.

Tendonitis is a common medical problem, accounting for about a third of all doctor visits for musculoskeletal injuries. While tendon injuries of all types are more prevalent among athletes, they can happen to anyone. 

At Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLCJoel S Segalman, DPM, FACFAS, FACFAO, and Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, offer several treatment options for people with tendonitis, tailoring each treatment plan to every patient’s unique needs. The symptoms you’re experiencing might be due to tendonitis - here’s how to tell:

Quick facts about tendonitis

Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis (or tendinitis) happens when a tendon becomes inflamed and irritated, often resulting from overuse and strain. Older people can be prone to tendonitis due to years of wear and tear on their tendons and joints.

Any tendon can develop tendonitis; however, it’s typically in the elbows, knees, heels, hips, shoulders, and the base of the thumb. Irritation often happens from repeated movement or overuse of a joint. High-impact activities, like running or jumping, are common causes of tendonitis in athletes.

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two examples of tendonitis that can happen with repeated movements — in this case, bending and extending the elbow over and over again. Achilles tendonitis is another common type, affecting the tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone.

Tendonitis symptoms to look for

Tendonitis symptoms can vary between people, depending on the severity of the tendon damage. They can also vary depending on the location of the affected tendon and your activity level.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness around the tendon
  • Swelling around the tendon
  • Pain that increases when moving the tendon

Many people experience a “grating” sensation when moving the tendon. This sensation, called crepitus, happens when the swollen tendon rubs against its protective sheath during movement.

Treating tendonitis

When a tendon is inflamed and irritated, it can develop tiny tears. Over time, the tendon can rupture, a serious condition that requires surgery to repair.

To prevent rupture, it’s important to treat tendonitis as soon as you notice the first symptoms. You can sometimes treat very mild cases of tendonitis with RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More advanced or complex cases may require other treatment, like:

  • Bracing a joint
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Steroid injections
  • Orthotics 
  • Extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT)
  • Casting

Most people with tendonitis benefit from physical therapy to help relieve inflammation. By improving strength in the affected area, physical therapy may also help prevent future tendon problems.

Find relief for your painful symptoms

Tendonitis can make even simple activities unbearably painful, and the pain can worsen without treatment. To find out if your symptoms are due to tendonitis and how we can help, request an appointment online or over the phone today with the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation in our Waterbury or Newtown, Connecticut office.