What is it?
Tendonitis (also called tendinitis) describes an inflamed and painful tendon. Tendons are the bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones and help you move. Tendon conditions can be acute (sudden-onset), such as those caused by a sports injury, or chronic (longer term), when a tendon gradually deteriorates, usually due to overuse or repetition. The terms ‘tendinopathy’ and ‘tendinosis’ describe chronic tendon conditions.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of tendonitis are pain and tenderness in the affected tendon, which is often worse when you move it. Other symptoms can include: * swelling * a grating sensation as the tendon moves * a lump on the tendon * weakness in the affected area. If you have symptoms of tendonitis that don’t get better after a few days’ rest, you should seek medical attention.
- Rest. Rest is essential to tissue healing. But it doesn’t mean complete bed rest. You can do other activities and exercises that don’t stress the injured tendon.
- Swimming and water exercise may be well-tolerated.
- Ice. To decrease pain, muscle spasm and swelling, apply ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Ice packs, ice massage or slush baths with ice and water all can help. For an ice massage, freeze a plastic foam cup full of water so that you can hold the cup while applying the ice directly to the skin.
- Compression. Because swelling can result in loss of motion in an injured joint, compress the area until the swelling has ceased. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages are best.
- Elevation. If tendinitis affects your knee, raise the affected leg above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
- Avoid activities that increase the pain or swelling. Don’t try to work or play through the pain.
Things to watch out for
Minor tendon injuries can often be treated at home. GP should be contacted if your symptoms are severe or don’t start to improve within a few weeks, or if you have ruptured a tendon.