Tendonitis Is Characterized By Inflammation of Tendons
Tendonitis is a common condition that is caused by inflammation of a tendon. Tendons function to attach muscle to bone, and are a flexible, fibrous tissue. When a muscle contracts, it pulls on your bone by transmitting force through a tendon, resulting in movement of your joint. Typically, tendonitis is caused by overuse, especially if individuals advance an exercise program too quickly. The tendon has not been prepared for the new level of activity and it responds with inflammation.
Aging Changes Tendon Integrity
A tendon's normal response to aging is a loss of its elasticity and ability to glide easily. Consequently, individuals are more susceptible to tendonitis as they get older. Experts believe that these age-related changes may be due to alterations in blood supply to the affected tissue and subsequent reduction in nutrition to the healing tendons.
Tendonitis Surgery Is Often a Last Resort
Conservative treatment is most often employed to treat tendonitis. The most important aspect of non-invasive treatment is rest which is essential to avoid re-aggravation of the inflamed area. A splint or brace may be recommended to help protect the area and to remind you to resist the tendon during normal, everyday activities. Additionally, ice and anti-inflammatory medications are generally used to help reduce swelling and decrease inflammation. If the above conservative, non-invasive techniques do not eliminate or minimize symptoms, a cortisone injection may be your next treatment option. Cortisone is a very strong anti-inflammatory that a physician injects directly into the site of inflammation. Due to concern of potential tendon rupture, a physician may not recommend injection to the Achilles (heel) tendon or to one site multiple times.
Severe Cases May Require Surgical Intervention
Tendonitis surgery is a last resort and generally reserved for those suffering from severe pain or limited mobility. Surgical intervention may be recommended in the case of tendon tears, tendon ruptures and bone spurs. A bone spur can rub against the tendon, leading to inflammation, irritation and potentially, a tear in the tendon. A surgeon must remove the bone spur, and may also need to repair the tissue if it has been damaged. Most likely, the area will need to be immobilized post-operatively and a period of structured rehabilitation will be required to regain full flexibility, strength and range of motion.
There Are Two Main Types of Tendonitis Surgery
Tendonitis surgery can be performed by arthroscopic surgery or open surgery. An arthroscopic procedure is less invasive and can repair the tendon through tiny incisions. Conversely, open surgical procedures are much more invasive and will likely be necessary in the case of completely torn tendons.