Alpine Orthopaedics ORTHO TIP brought to you by Amy Sandusky, PA-C:
WHAT IS IT?
A tendon is a cord-like fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendinitis is inflammation and/or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are found near almost every joint in our bodies. The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscle to the heel and is one of the largest tendons in the body. Tendon inflammation can result from repetitive use, from improper technique or can result from traumatic injury. Most tendinitis results from repetitive movements and are commonly described or named after the inciting activity (Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, Jumper’s knee). Prolonged or severe tendinitis, also sometimes referred to as tendinosis, can lead to scarring, tightening and eventually rupture of the tendon. Common areas affected by tendinitis are the knee, the ankle, the foot and the elbow.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Anyone can develop tendinitis. Athletes, hobbyists and laborers who perform repetitive movements are at risk. As with all body tissues, tendinous tissue degenerates over time so the aging athlete, hobbyist and laborer are at increased risk.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis is generally based on presenting symptoms and physical exam. Xrays may be done to rule out other problems but tendinitis cannot be seen on xray. Diagnostic ultrasound, available in our office, can be used to visualize involved tendons and can show inflammation, fluid, partial tearing and scarring in an affected tendon. Rarely, MRI may be needed for diagnosis.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Rest, activity modification and physical therapy are always recommended. Immobilization with a splint or cast is sometimes necessary. Anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful. If conservative treatment measures fail, more aggressive treatment that removes, cleans or repairs the tendon may be necessary. The Tenex procedure is a minimally invasive ultrasound guided method of removing damaged and scarred tissue from tendons. More aggressive surgical treatment is used as a last resort for tendinitis that has failed other treatments.
HOW TO PREVENT THIS INJURY:
General fitness, healthy body weight and flexibility decrease the risk. Avoiding repetitive movements and using proper technique and equipment is also important. Addressing symptoms as early as possible is recommended since the longer a tendon is inflamed, the longer it takes to recover and the more potential there is for scarring and permanent damage.
Over the years we have worked with many collegiate, professional and recreational athletes as well as people in the occupational workforce who all want to feel good and perform well. Combining education and the best most up-to-date medical and scientific knowledge, we at Alpine Orthopaedics endeavor…
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