What is Tendinopathy?
Tendinopathy in simple words is the injury caused to tendons. Tendons aid in the movement of joints by connecting muscles to bones. Tendon injuries are most commonly seen near ankle, knee and shoulder joints.
Types of Tendon Injuries:
- Tendinosis – This is the term used to describe micro or tiny tears of the tissue in and around the tendons that have been occurring over a period of time.
- Tendinits – It is nothing but inflammation of tendons. According to experts, not very often an inflammation can lead to pain in tendons.
Thus Tendinopathy is a combination of inflammation and tears of tendons.
What Causes It?
Aging or overuse of tendons gradually results in its wear and tear leading to injuries. The minute tears are a result of the strain or pressure caused on the tendons that accumulate to cause pain and change in the structure.
Physical labor, Sports and household chores result in tendon injuries.
Symptoms of Tendinopathy:
Stiffness, pain and loss of strength are the characteristic features of the affected tendon.
- Swelling, redness and tenderness of the tendon.
- Stiffness and pain after prolonged resting sessions such as early in the morning.
- Extreme and unbearable pain when the affected tendon is used.
- ‘Crunchy’ feeling or sound while using the tendon.
- Increase in pain as the activity increases.
You are at an increased risk of Tendinopathy if you can relate to any of the below mentioned factors.
- Being overweight.
- Imbalance in muscles.
- Reduced flexibility.
- Abnormalities in the alignment of legs.
How is Tendinopathy Diagnosed?
You will have to undergo a physical examination after listing out all the symptoms associated with pain to your doctor. In most of the cases diagnosis will be done looking at the medical history and symptoms. Only in severe cases, MRI scan and X-rays are advised.
MRI Scan – Apart from confirming the diagnosis, it also gives a clear picture of the extent to which the tendon has been damaged.
X-Ray – Highlights the calcium deposits if any in the tendon.
Treatment for Tendinopathy:
Treatment of an injured tendon mainly depends on the factors such as the length of the time for which the symptoms have lasted, severity of symptoms and the particular tendon involved.
You can treat an injured tendon at home.
- Rest the injured area. Avoid activities that worsen the pain.
- Application of cold or ice packs every two hours for duration of at least 15 minutes can help a lot in relieving the inflammation.
- Performing gentle stretches can prevent stiffness.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and over the counter medications can be taken to reduce the pain.
- Wearing foot orthotics can solve problems with foot alignment.
- Apply topical creams and ointments on the affected area of tendon.
- Injecting cortisone into tendon sheath can also reduce inflammation.
Soon after your recovery, do not get back to your activities with the normal pace. Take one step at a time. If you are an avid sports person and can’t wait to start exercising, make sure to do some warm-ups before you begin the exercise and stretch gently later.
- Gradually prepare your body for a new activity.
- Slowly increase the intensity and time duration of your activity.
- Back off from the activities that make you feel tired or restless or if you are not used to it.
- Try to strengthen the muscles attached to the affected tendon after stretching it enough.
- Never ignore pain. Treatment in the initial stages can prevent future complications.
Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, take steps to prevent this condition and if you are already affected with Tendinopathy, opt for the right treatment that gets you back to normal without any problems.