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Sports Medicine And Tendonitis

Posted Apr 26 2010 6:03am


Tendonitis is a common sports injury that often occurs from overuse of the tendon. Tendonitis causes deep pain caused by inflammation of the tendons. Tendons are fibrous tissue throughout the body that connects the muscles to bones. There are a variety of reasons in which a tendon may become irritated or inflamed including the stress of repeated motion or a traumatic injury.

When the tendons become irritated or inflamed, it becomes painful; a diagnosis of tendonitis is then made. The most common cause of tendonitis is over use syndrome, also known as chronic repetitive stress and strain injury. Overuse injuries are the result of stress, trauma, and repetitive use to the soft issues of the body. These injuries are also called cumulative trauma or repetitive stress injuries.

Treating tendonitis is the same as that used for overuse injuries. This includes resting the stressed tissues and reducing the intensity, duration or frequency of the exercise. Occasionally all that is required for fast relief is to use ice on the injury to help reduce inflammation and pain.

For more serious overuse injuries, physical therapy, over the counter medications, and complete rest may be the only options available to the injured person. If the symptoms of tendonitis are more severe, the physician may provide an injection of cortisone to relieve the pain. A cortisone injection is an anti-inflammatory medication that will help with the pain and inflammation. However it is unable to be applied to the Achilles tendons, as the risk of rupturing the tendon is very high. Long term treatment of tendonitis includes protecting the tendon from strain until it is fully healed.

There are several different types of tendonitis, all affecting a different area of the body.

Rotator cuff injuries, for example, are very common. They may occur due to a single traumatic event or from repetitive overuse.

Impingement tendonitis occurs when the space is narrowed between the rotator cuff and the bony acromion above it and the bone pinches and irritates the cuff. This can happen if the cuff is too weak, the bursa is swollen, or the acromion angles down too far.

Tendonitis caused by impingement can occur with repetitive shoulder activities, such as sports or jobs involving overhead reaching.

Inflammation resulting in a buildup of calcium deposits within the rotator cuff, leads to pain and loss of shoulder strength and movement is called calcification tendonitis.

Treatment of the injuries discussed is individualized for each sufferer but usually consists of physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and occasionally surgery.

The non-surgical treatment is designed to help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, restore function and mobility, and decrease inflammation. If these treatments fail, then surgery becomes an option.

However, before surgery is considered, an MRI is often undertaken to better define the problem. Long term treatment of tendonitis includes protecting the tendon from being strained until it is fully healed. Serious complications of tendonitis may include muscle wasting and disability.

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