Syracuse Area Health – Strasburger Orthopaedics

Tendonitis – Why this Common Condition Can Be Among the Most Difficult to Treat

Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is inflammation or irritation of the thick, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Tendonitis typically causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint, and is most commonly a problem around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels.

Unfortunately, tendonitis can be tricky to treat, as it may be misdiagnosed as another condition, a serious case may be ignored by a patient until the inflammation is severe, or the tendon may continually be injured over and over.

Causes of Tendonitis

Any repetitive action can cause tendonitis, and certain occupations are more likely to give you tendon problems. Occupations include painting, gardening, warehouse work, and other jobs that require constant reaching, squatting, and other repetitive joint related motions. 

Sports activities are also extremely likely to cause tendonitis. Tendon injuries happen if care isn’t taken to keep from overusing the joint, or if the player’s form is poor and overstresses the joints and tendons. Basketball players, runners, and bowlers can experience tendonitis, as can other athletes – in fact, most tendon injuries are named for sports activities:

  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Pitcher’s shoulder
  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Tennis elbow

Treating tendonitis

Many cases of tendonitis can be successfully treated with rest, physical therapy and medications to reduce pain, especially if they are identified and correctly diagnosed soon after they occur. Far too many workers or athletes push through pain, doing more damage, or return to work or sports too soon, overstressing the joint in question.  

Surgery for tendonitis

If tendonitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgery. The most common areas to require tendon surgery are the quadriceps around the knee, the Achilles above the heel, the biceps at the top of the shoulder, and the rotator cuff, inside the shoulder.

Before surgery, physical therapy and other methods may be used to try to heal the tendon and joint. However, for severe cases aggravated by the aging process or traumatic impact during sports or an accident, surgery may be your best hope of restored mobility.

At Strasburger Orthopaedics, Dr. Strasburger can correctly diagnose tendonitis, create a treatment plan to heal your injured tendon, or perform tendon surgery if necessary. He can also apply additional methods to help speed healing and reduce pain around tendon injuries, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections to boost your body’s natural healing ability.