Don’t worry if you can’t remember what you learned back in health class; here’s some quick info:
Tendons are the tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. Everyone has heard of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon connecting your calf muscles in to the back of your heel. This is the thickest tendon in your body, but of course, these connective tissues exist all over your body. They can, of course, become injured. Tendonitis is the term used when one of these connective tissues becomes inflamed.
Though these two terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand that they are not the same. In the word “tendonitis”, the “-it is” means inflammation. This is as opposed to the “-osis” in “tendinosis”. This suffix means that the tendon is actually damaged or abnormal. It is usually caused by little damage, here and there, over a long period of time. This condition is generally chronic and requires different treatment.
We want you to know this so that you can gave a general understanding of what is causing your issues (based on the history of the pain), but understand that only a trained professional is qualified to determine which is which. Sometimes this is as simple as completing a physical therapy evaluation, and sometimes it requires an MRI. Either way, a physical therapist will be able to make that recommendation for you.
Take a look at the list below, to see if any of them apply to you:
–“Tennis elbow”, otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis. Symptoms include pain in the back side of the elbow/forearm.
–“Golfer’s elbow” (or “baseball elbow”), known as medial epicondylitis. Symptoms include pain from the elbow to the wrist on the inside of the forearm.
–“Jumper’s knee”, or patellar tendonitis, is marked by inflammation/pain below the patella (knee bone) and above the tibia (shin bone).
–Rotator cuff tendonitis, which is marked by inflammation of the shoulder capsule.
–DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, marked by swelling in the tendons of the thumb.
–“Trigger finger/trigger thumb”, which makes it difficult to extend or flex the finger or thumb.
There are, of course, other forms of tendonitis/tendinosis as well.
The quick answer is this: if you have pain in the tendon when it is moved, or a grating feeling when you move a joint, you may have this condition.
If you think this is the case, or if your doctor has mentioned it to you, start by getting evaluated by a physical therapist. The therapist can give you solid direction regarding what to do next. If you’re in the area, give us a call at (480) 833-1005! We’d love to help you pinpoint the cause of your pain and get you on the fast track to feeling better!