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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is tendinitis?
Tendinitis is painful inflammation or breakdown of your tendons. It may also be called tendinopathy. Tendinitis often occurs in the knee, shoulder, ankle, hip, or elbow.
What increases my risk for tendinitis?
- Injury, overuse, or repeated movement of a joint
- Not warming up before exercise, or not resting enough between activities
- Use of shoes or exercise equipment that do not fit well
- Muscle weakness, balance problems, or poor posture
What are the signs and symptoms of tendinitis?
You may have redness, pain, or swelling around your joint, tendon, or muscle. You may also have pain, stiffness, or decreased movement in your joint.
How is tendinitis diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will check your range of motion of the affected joint. He may also lightly press on your tendon to check for pain. You may also need an ultrasound, x-ray, or MRI to show if you have tendinitis or another condition.
How is tendinitis treated?
- Pain medicines such as NSAIDs and acetaminophen may decrease swelling and pain. These medicines are available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Follow directions. NSAIDs and acetaminophen may cause liver or kidney damage if not taken correctly.
- Steroids may be used to decrease pain and swelling. They may be given as a pill or as an injection into the affected area. Steroids are rarely used in children.
- Surgery may rarely be needed if other treatment does not work.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- Rest your tendon as directed to help it heal. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop putting weight on your affected area.
- Ice helps decrease swelling and pain, and may help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Support devices such as a cane, splint, shoe insert, or brace may help reduce your pain.
- Physical therapy may be ordered by your healthcare provider. This may be used to teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. You may also learn how to improve your posture, and how to lift or exercise correctly.
How can I prevent tendinitis?
- Warm up or stretch before you exercise.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around your joint. Ease into an exercise routine for the first 3 weeks to prevent another injury. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Rest fully between activities.
- Use the right equipment for sports and exercise. Wear braces or tape around weak joints as directed.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have increased pain even after you take medicine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
When should I seek immediate help?
- You have increased redness over the joint, or swelling in the joint.
- You suddenly cannot move your joint.
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