If you’re experiencing joint pain you may be thinking to yourself, what is tendonitis? Is it possible that tendonitis is what I’ve been feeling? Chances are you’ve heard of this condition at one point or another. Even if this is true, you may still be wondering what it’s caused by and which symptoms can serve as clues that this condition has developed.

First things first, tendonitis is a common condition that usually occurs in areas where a tendon connects bone to muscle. Tendons are strong cords, encased in a smooth sheath containing lubricating cells. This sheath allows for movement as the tendons slide back and forth. Typically, gliding in the sheath happens without trouble, but when tendonitis occurs, this process is disrupted. The tendons become inflamed and swollen. This movement then begins to cause the affected individual pain or stiffness.

Causes of Tendonitis

Now that your question, “what is tendonitis?” has been answered, you may be wondering what causes it. In most instances, tendonitis is the result of a strain, an injury, overexertion, repetitive or sudden movements that your body does not typically make. Although tendonitis is thought to be a result of participation in sports, it can also become an issue from repeated, mundane household chores like cleaning, scrubbing painting or gardening.

Tendonitis is usually a problem for seniors and middle-aged people who do not have the same flexibility as younger individuals do. Additionally, certain pre-existing conditions have been proven to cause tendonitis. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, Reiter’s syndrome, lupus, high blood cholesterol levels and diabetes have been linked to tendonitis. Use of quinolone antibiotics has also been connected to an increase in the risk of a tendon rupture, leading to the development of tendonitis. All things considered, the most common causes of tendonitis is tendon overuse or overload.

Symptoms of Tendonitis

Tendonitis symptoms vary according to the severity of the case. It’s normal for certain movements to cause a more substantial amount of pain than others. The following symptoms are common in individuals who are suffering from tendonitis:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Aching with movement
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of motion

In more advanced cases, tendonitis can cause serious pain capable of interfering with your daily routine. Individuals suffering from a case of tendonitis that has progressed significantly may experience contractures or tightening of the tendon in addition to scarring. Your doctor will be able to determine if your condition has been caused by an injury or by a strain.

Treatment Options for Tendonitis in NJ

Your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment method for your particular condition and the severity of your tendonitis. This treatment will include different options and therapies. Although surgery is considered a last resort type of solution, in some instances it may be the only way to relieve pain and restore normal function. Without adequate treatment, tendonitis can cause you to lose functionality, making life more difficult.

In the early stages of tendonitis, you may be able to alleviate symptoms with the RICE method, through rest, ice, compression and elevation. Along with these efforts, you may want to begin seeking relief through over-the-counter medications that offer anti-inflammatory properties, like ibuprofen. Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you soak the affected area in warm water with Epsom salts.

After tendonitis has advanced, becoming a more persistent pain, your doctor may suggest that you begin seeking help from a physical therapist. Professional exercise plans may benefit your condition by keeping your tendonitis from progressing any further, avoiding the need for surgery.

When all other treatment options have been exhausted, your doctor may inform you that undergoing surgery is the best bet for a full recovery. Most surgeries for tendonitis are relatively simple and require small incisions, although more advanced cases may need tendon grafts from other areas of the body to restore function to your hand.

Preventing Tendonitis

With the numerous methods of preventing and bettering your tendonitis, it’s safe to say surgery is only recommended when no other treatments are capable of alleviating the pain experienced. The best way you can avoid tendonitis surgery is by taking ample preventative measures.

Whether you are completing household tasks or playing sports, make sure that you are paying careful attention to your form. This will help you prevent any injuries.

  • When you are standing or sitting, consider your posture. Sit up straight and hold your body upright. This will ensure that the least strain is placed on your supporting muscles and ligaments.
  • Use any tools available to make your work and play life as ergonomic as possible. This means focusing on efficiency and comfort in your day-to-day working environment.
  • Be sure to warm up and stretch before performing activities, whether it be participating in sports or gardening. Muscles that have been properly warmed up are less prone to injuries.
  • Give your body an opportunity to rest after exerting yourself. Take a few moments to breathe and stretch. When your tendons are overused or overworked, you can experience an injury that might lead to tendonitis.

The tendonitis experts at Cohen/Winters are more than happy to answer your questions from “what is tendonitis?” to “what are my treatment options?” The offices of Cohen/Winters are conveniently located in New Jersey, allowing you to skip the expense and hassle of undergoing treatment in New York City. Additionally, you will be able to heal during the recovery process from the comfort of your home, with your treatment center and surgeon located nearby. The doctors at Cohen/Winters take pride in partnering with patients to help patients understand the conditions they are experiencing create solutions that are customized to their condition, needs and lifestyle.

hand surgeon NJ

Dr. Yueh

About Dr. Yueh

Dr. Janet H. Yueh specializes in hand surgery including Trigger Finger, Basal Joint Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis. Dr. Yueh did her undergraduate work at Harvard University in Cambridge where she graduated magna cum laude. She continued her education at Harvard Medical School where she earned her M.D.