Tendon is a fibrous band that attaches muscle to bone. It has an ability to withstand tension and work in collaboration with muscles to exert pulling forces. An inflammation and irritation in the tendon are termed as Tendonitis. The most common sites for tendonitis are shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels. Different types of tendonitis have different names like; Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, Pitcher’s elbow, Jumper’s knee etc.
Anything that overload the tendon may lead to tendonitis such as:
- Repetitive movement-One of the most common cause
- Sport related injuries such as basketball, golf, baseball, skiing and sprinting etc.
- Poor body mechanics
- Awkward position/postures
- Aging causes less flexibility in tendons and make them vulnerable to injury
- Sudden forceful activity
- Poor conditioning before and after exercise
- Structural deformity such as leg discrepancy
- Disease related stresses for example; Rheumatoid/Psoriatic arthritis, gout etc.
Symptoms may last up to a few weeks or months depending on severity of injury. Some common symptoms are;
- Pain at the site of inflammation that may last up to a few weeks.
- Lack of motion
- Muscle spasm
- Trouble sleeping
In the beginning doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain medicines with further recommendation of ice and rest. Physicians may also prescribe steroid injections that mask the pain symptoms but cause further damage to the tissues. If this is not sufficient then they may refer a patient to physiotherapy. However, the sooner you start physiotherapy treatment, the faster it recovers. By identifying and modifying aggravating and causative factors, physiotherapy can effectively manage tendonitis symptoms with an aim to improve quality of life.
PHYSIOTHERAPY GOALS FOR TENDONITIS REHAB
- To relief pain/swelling
- Maintain and initiate gentle strengthening and improve mobility
- Patient education regarding adaptations in lifestyle activities in order to reduce risk of further complications such as capsulitis or a tendon tear that may arise secondary to lack of proper body mechanics or unnecessary overloading of tendon.
- Safe return to daily routine activities and job activities
PHYSIOTHERAPY TREATMENT OPTIONS
Physiotherapy treatment may consist of combination of any of the following methods;
- Heat therapy/Cold therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Therapeutic Ultrasound for thermal and non thermal effects as needed
- Joint mobilizations/ soft tissue releases
- Deep tendon friction massage to release adhesions
- ROM exercises/ Flexibility and strengthening exercises/ Progressive resisted exercises/ Progressive functional exercise program
- Taping to hold tissue in place and prevent from re-injury
- Unloading brace for joint and tendon support to relief undue stresses
- Education regarding proper postural techniques, activity modification, self management techniques, retraining of body mechanics, ergonomic changes and preventative measures.
Recovery may take from weeks to months depending on severity of injury and task of your daily living and your job nature. But with expert advice and proper care from your physiotherapist it would be much easier for you to handle your daily tasks with less effort and proper techniques to reduce unnecessary stresses on your tendon.