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What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis (also sometimes spelled tendinitis), is the inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is a thick cord made up of tiny fibers that connect muscles to bones. When people have inflamed or irritated tendons, they may experience pain, tenderness and mild swelling near the affected joint.

Tendonitis can occur in any tendon in the body, but it most commonly occurs in the shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, and heels. You’ve probably heard of tendonitis referred to as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, baseball shoulder, runner’s knee or jumper’s knee. These are all common terms that refer to tendonitis in different tendons.

How does tendonitis happen?

Most cases of tendonitis occur after repetitive movements over a long period of time. However, it can be caused by a sudden injury. Most people develop tendonitis from engaging in work or sports activities that require repetitive motion, awkward positioning, forceful exertion, or overhead reaching; or involve vibration. Improper technique or poor posture during activities can also lead to tendonitis because it can make the tendon work harder. Frequently engaging in sports, such as baseball, golf, basketball, bowling, tennis, running and swimming can all lead to tendonitis.

What is the treatment for tendonitis?

Treating tendonitis focuses on reducing inflammation and reducing pain. Many people can care for it on their own by using RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and taking over-the-counter pain medication. However, some people may need to see a doctor to get relief. Corticosteroid injections may help for acute tendonitis, but they are not recommended for long-term/chronic tendonitis. Physical therapy to help stretch and strengthen the affected area can be helpful in treating chronic tendonitis. 

If tendonitis is serious or involves a tendon tear, open or traditional surgery may be required. If you need surgery for complications of tendonitis, the orthopedic surgeons at Beaumont can help. 

Recovery and long-term prognosis

The recovery period depends on the severity of the tendonitis, the location of the affected tendon, and the type of treatment chosen, among other things. The recovery period for the FAST procedure is about 1 to 2 months. 

Connect with our orthopedic specialists

Whether you’re seeking help with an existing condition, you would like a diagnosis, or you are looking for help with recovery and rehabilitation after an injury, Beaumont has orthopedic specialists who offer the types of treatment and services you need. 

If you have an injury to your bones or joints that needs to be cared for right away, contact your nearest Beaumont Emergency Center. We also have an Orthopedic Rehabilitation Clinic and a Physical Therapy Department to help you recover from orthopedic injuries.

Call us at 800-633-7377 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.


Advanced Treatment: Tenex Tenotomy

The Tenex tenotomy procedure is a non-surgical procedure used to treat chronic pain associated with tendinitis/tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis/fasciosis. The minimally invasive technique can reduce tendon pain by breaking down and removing damaged tissues with high-frequency ultrasound energy. The procedure is commonly used to treat tendinitis/tendinopathy of the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, ankle, and plantar fascia.  The procedure is performed using local anesthetic and ultrasound guidance which makes it extremely safe. The procedure is minimally invasive and allows patients to return to normal activities faster than surgery.

The procedure is performed though a small skin puncture (2-3mm) and the device is advanced to the diseased tendon or plantar fascia using ultrasound guidance. The device then removes the diseased tissue and stimulates your bodies normal healing response. The device is then removed and small bandage is applied. Patients go home shortly after the procedure and typically have a short course (3-7 days) of relative immobilization in a sling or walking boot.