What is tendonitis and BURSITIS?
Tendonitis is inflammation of the cord-like structure located where a muscle narrows down to join a bone. This structure called tendon, transmits the pull of the muscle to the bone to cause movement. Inflammation of the tendon is called tendinitis. In addition, Tenosynovitis means inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon. Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a small sac that acts as a cushion or pad between moving structures (bones, muscles, tendons or skin). If a muscle or tendon is pulling around a corner, or over a bone, then a bursa serves to protect it from fraying and stress. Inflammation of this small sac is called bursitis.
These injuries typically occur when tendons are overused. For example, this may be after overuse in the course of your work. In other instances, infection can occur in a bursa or tendon sheath. Crystals, which are associated with gout, can sometimes be found in a bursa, and, like infection, may occur without any precipitating event. These problems are more common in middle-aged adults, and particularly in people who are quite sporty. They may be more common if your work involves repetitive movements such as writing, typing or use of a computer mouse.
What are the symptoms of tendonitis?
The main symptoms are pain, tenderness and sometimes swelling of the affected part of the tendon. The pain is typically when you move the affected area. The overlying skin in that area may also feel warm. You may have reduced movement or weakness of the part of the body that is pulled by the affected tendon.
Some types of tendonitis and tenosynovitis cause very characteristic symptoms, for example:
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. This is a common condition that affects the tendons that are used to straighten your thumb. The typical symptom is pain over your wrist at the base of your thumb that is made worse by activity and eased by rest.
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). In this condition, you have pain on the outer side of your elbow. It is usually due to overuse of your forearm muscles.
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). This is similar to tennis elbow but the pain is experienced on the inner side of your elbow.
- Achilles tendonitis. This affects the large tendon just behind and above the heel.
- Rotator cuff tendonitis. Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that help to lift and rotate your shoulder. The tendons from these muscles can sometimes become irritated due to overuse.
- Trigger finger. This most commonly affects your ring finger. The condition prevents your finger from straightening fully.
How are tendonitis and bursitis diagnosed?
Diagnosis of tendonitis and bursitis requires a medical history and careful physical examination. X-rays do not show bursae or tendons, but may be useful in excluding other bone or joint problems. Blood tests are of little value in detecting these conditions and are not used.
WHAT IS THE of tendonitis and bursitis?
- Stop doing the activity that caused the condition, such as sport or typing, or at least reduce it. This will help prevent any further inflammation or damage.
- You can ease the pain and swelling by applying an ice pack or warm towel to the affected area.
- Tenosynovitis may be treated with mild non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs). These should not be used for long periods of time and are not recommended for people with asthma or kidney or liver disease.
- If there is swelling and evidence of inflammation, a steroid injection around the affected tendon or into the tendon sheath may be effective.
- Physiotherapy, which involves manipulation and massage of the affected area, can be helpful.
- If there are calcium deposits around the tendon, they can either be surgically removed or, if the condition is persistent, treated with a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT).ESWT involves passing shock waves through the skin to the affected areas to break up the calcium deposits.
What CAN I DO TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?
There are a few simple steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing this condition. First, always warm up and stretch before you begin any exercise. Second, always wear the correct footwear to suit the activity. And finally, if you have been away from exercise for an extended period of time you should ease back in – your tendons won’t be used to the stress!
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