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Tendonitis

Introduction
Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that can develop in a tendon.  Tendons are strong fibers that connect your muscles to your bones.  Tendonitis most frequently results from overuse of a joint.  Symptoms include pain and tenderness.  Most cases of tendonitis are relieved with rest and anti-inflammatory medications.  Chronic tendonitis may require surgery if symptoms are intolerable despite nonoperative treatment.

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Anatomy
Tendons are strong fibers that connect your muscles to your bones.  Tendons vary in size and shape, from the small ones in your fingers to the large ones in your legs.  Your tendons and muscles move the bones in your joints. 

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Causes
Tendonitis results when the tendons are irritated in some way.  Tendonitis develops because of overuse, injury, structural abnormalities, or diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes.  Tendonitis commonly occurs at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and heel.

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Symptoms
Tendonitis causes pain and tenderness, especially near a joint. Your pain may increase with movement or activity.  Pain may be present at night.  The skin covering your tendon may be warm and red.

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Diagnosis
Your doctor can diagnose tendonitis by reviewing your medical history and conducting an examination.  You should tell your doctor about circumstances that may have contributed to your condition.  Your doctor will examine your muscles and tendons, and will ask you to perform certain movements against resistance.  There are specific examinations for each tendon.

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Surgery
Surgery may be necessary to relieve chronic changes or inflammation around a tendon.  Chronic tendonitis can cause a tendon to degenerate and tear.  Surgery may be required to repair tendons that rupture as a result of chronic degeneration and inflammation.  Surgical techniques vary depending on the condition and location of the tendon.

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Treatment
Treatment for tendonitis is aimed at reducing pain and inflammation.  This may be achieved in several ways.  Your doctor may recommend using an ice pack, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone injections.  A physical therapist or an occupational therapist can issue or customize a splint, cast, or brace to position your joints and allow your tendons to rest and heal.  Your therapist can teach you exercises to improve your strength, flexibility, coordination, and functional movement.  Modalities to assist healing, such as heat, ice, ultrasound, and Fluidotherapy are usually used.  The goal of physical or occupational therapy is to help restore function and prevent future injury.

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Recovery
Recovery from tendonitis is individualized and depends on many factors.  Your doctor will let you know what to expect.

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Prevention
You may prevent tendonitis by exercising to keep your muscles strong and flexible.  Stretching properly is very important.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.