Tendons are the tough, flexible fibrous bands which connect muscles to bones. When the tendons become irritated, inflamed, or develop microscopic tears, tendonitis is present. In most case the cause behind the tendonitis is usually due to overuse or overloading the tendon. When a particular activity or motion is repeated frequently it can cause tendonitis. It can also be caused when an activity is increased too quickly, such as weightlifting. Tendonitis is most common in the elbow, shoulder, knee, wrist, ankle, and heel.
Jumper’s knee, or tendonitis in the knee, can be caused by overusing the knee and experienced especially by distance runners and basketball players. Anyone who jumps frequently or puts undue strain on the knee can develop the condition. The patellar tendon which runs on the lower edge of the kneecap or the quadriceps tendon on the upper edge of the kneecap are usually the tendons affected.
Achilles tendonitis affects the foot’s Achilles tendon which is a large, rope-like tendon attached to the heel bone. This is usually caused by overuse as well. It can develop in those who run and jump repeatedly. It can also be related to poorly fitting shoes and improper running techniques.
When the condition is mild, the doctor may recommend that you ice the area for several 20 minute intervals throughout the day and especially after an activity which has caused pain. The doctor may also recommend that you take ibuprofen or aspirin for several weeks. The area will also need to be rested to allow the body time to heal itself. Splinting, bracing, or using a sling may also be required. It will be important to stretch the joint to avoid stiffness when these are used. For more serious conditions, corticosteroid injections may be used in addition to physical therapy. The length of time needed to recover will depend on how serious the tendonitis has become. When you present with serious joint pain, swelling, or loss of function, contact the doctor right away.
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