What Is Tendonitis and How to Treat It

Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, which is a type of connective tissue that bridges your muscles and bones. This painful condition is often caused by overuse or injury. Doctors commonly suggest treatments like RICE, OTC pain meds, and exercise

What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a health condition where a tendon becomes inflamed and aggravated. But, before we can fully answer your question, “What is tendonitis?” we must first answer, “What is a tendon?”. A tendon is a type of connective tissue, often called a “mechanical bridge.” Tendons bind your muscles to your bones, allowing the transfer of force from a muscle contraction to move a bone. Tendons help you move. They are also often referred to as ropes or “ropey.” This is because tendons are powerful and dense. Tendons are made from collagen, elastin, glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and a particular type of fibroblast cells. These cells are arranged longitudinally, giving tendons their tensile strength. If any of your ropey tendons become aggravated, inflamed, and painful, this is called tendonitis. 

Types of Tendonitis

There are two types of tendonitis, chronic and acute. A dull, unrelenting soreness characterizes chronic tendonitis. It is more painful when you start moving, but it will eventually ease or disappear after you’re warmed up. Acute tendonitis pain is sharp to the point where you may not be able to move your joint. It also often eases or goes away but may return if specific movements are performed. 

Tendonitis can affect any tendon, but it is most commonly found in the more prominent, hardest-working tendons, such as in the elbow, ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder. 

  • Elbow

There are two types of elbow tendonitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow and golfers’ elbow. Anyone who regularly uses their elbows intensely, such as athletes or plumbers, could potentially experience tendonitis. Pain can originate from either side of the elbow and may radiate into the forearm and wrist. 

  • Knee

Knee tendonitis, or patellar tendonitis, occurs when the tendon attaching your patella (kneecap) to your shin bone becomes inflamed. This type of tendonitis affects your ability to move your leg and do things like run, kick or climb the stairs. 

  • Hip

Hip tendonitis can affect runners and those who are older. The two large muscles that stabilize and move your hip, the iliac and the psoas, share a tendon connecting them to your thigh bone or femur. If you have tendonitis here, you may hear a clicking sound when you move or experience pain while walking. 

  • Heel

The Achilles tendon is the large, thick tendon at the back of your ankle, and it connects your heel bone to your calf muscles on the back of your leg. Any climbing activity, whether hiking or climbing stairs, can aggravate Achilles tendonitis. Be careful with any intense exercise if you have this condition. 

  • Shoulder

There are many tendons in the shoulder, and together with the shoulder muscles, they are called the rotator cuff. This group of muscles and tendons connects your arms to your shoulder blades. Tendonitis in the shoulders can affect your range of motion. Specific movements might be painful or unavailable, and it’s also common to experience tingling in the hands or wrists. 

Causes of Tendonitis

What causes tendonitis? Tendonitis can be caused by overuse, such as with sports or specific occupations. Or, an injury, especially if it’s repeated, can cause tendonitis. If you overuse your tendons due to athletic training, try to either back off, modify your activities, or take a break to heal. If your cause is how you move and use your body during work, try to alter your posture, so it’s more aligned, and use ergonomic tool adapters wherever possible. Age is also a factor in tendonitis, as the aging process causes connective tissues to lose flexibility. 

Symptoms of Tendonitis

  1. If you have tendonitis, the tissue surrounding a joint is likely painful, particularly after a lot of use. 
  2. You might also experience a loss of strength, and the area may be red, swollen, and warm. 
  3. Pain can be dull and aching or sharp. 
  4. The range of motion of the afflicted joint might be affected, and it’s common for specific motions to be more triggering than others. 
  5. The time of day might make a difference, with some types of tendonitis worsening at night or in the morning. 
  6. It’s also possible that pain may radiate from the point of tendonitis to other parts of the body. 

Tendonitis Treatment 

If you’re wondering how to treat tendonitis, it is a good idea to see a doctor. If you’re having pain around a joint, they can give you a precise diagnosis, which is the first step in establishing an effective treatment plan. Here are some of the standard recommendations. 

  1. The definitive treatment, RICE, is often prescribed. RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Give the affected joint a rest. Use ice packs regularly. Cover the ice pack with a cloth to protect your skin and apply it to the afflicted area for 15-20 minutes every three to four hours. Use a compression wrap to stabilize the joint and elevate it.
  2. Your doctor might suggest OTC pain meds like aspirin or ibuprofen.
  3. Another treatment that might be suggested is an exercise regimen to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint. This can relieve pressure on your tendon. 
  4. Steroids might also be prescribed to relieve the inflammation causing your tendonitis.  

Tendonitis Self-Treatment with YouMari

YouMari can support any plan of action for treating tendonitis. YouMari is the most advanced self-treatment program on the market and gives you the benefits of physical therapy and massage therapy in the comfort of your home. After a thorough assessment of your issue, YouMari creates a customized self-treatment plan of stretching, self-massage, and exercises that will relieve pain and work to correct the root causes of your tendonitis. Each technique is shown through videos, making it easy to master your routine by following along. YouMari helps you create progress through calendar reminders and detailed lists of any equipment you might need. Try YouMari today and put yourself first.