Tendons are supporting tissues that connect muscles to bones. They’re found throughout your body, especially in the joints, where bones, muscles, and connective tissues come together.
Tendons are strong, but they’re not indestructible. Repetitive stress, or overuse injuries, can inflame the tissue, causing painful bouts of tendinitis. While ice and rest may help a first-time acute injury, what do you do when you have recurrent tendon problems?
At Santa Cruz Osteopathic, Dr. Richard Bernstein and his staff treat all types of musculoskeletal problems, including recurrent tendon problems, whether caused by a sports injury or other repetitive stress. If you’re wondering what to do about the constant pain, here’s what they have to say.
The causes and symptoms of tendinitis
Tendinitis (alternatively, but less commonly, spelled tendonitis) is an inflammation of the thick, ropy tissue connecting your muscles and bones. As we’ve said, it’s most commonly caused by repetitive stress that produces an inflammatory response by the body, but it can also occur in areas where calcium deposits have developed.
Tendinitis doesn’t discriminate based on age, but it’s more common in adults over 40 because tendons tolerate less stress and become less flexible as you age.
The major symptom is pain in the area of the tendon, especially when you’re using it. It may come on suddenly or be a chronic ache. Swelling, warmth, tenderness, and redness may also occur. The redness is called “erythema,” the dilation of blood capillaries that results from the inflammatory process.
Tendonitis can easily be confused with a muscle strain, but there’s a way to tell the difference. A muscle strain’s pain is felt in the muscle itself, whereas in tendinitis, you feel the pain near where the muscle attaches to the bone.
Treating recurrent tendinitis
Tendinitis treatment always starts with conservative methods, which are usually enough to take care of the problem. And the sooner you treat your tendinitis, the sooner you’ll recover your full strength and flexibility.
Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to alleviate both swelling and pain. Whether this is your first bout with tendinitis or a recurring problem, the first step is using the “RICE” protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Dr. Bernstein might also recommend short-term immobilization to allow the tendon time to heal.
Once you’re in less pain, you can engage in physical therapy and other modalities to help you build back strength in the injured tendon. Dr. Bernstein also offers the following treatment options:
Osteopathic manual medicine (OMM)
OMM is a unique brand of hands-on therapy. It uses stretching, mild pressure, and resistance to relieve musculoskeletal pain while at the same time improving your flexibility, strength, and range of motion. It’s completely noninvasive, drug-free, and emphasizes how your entire body is interconnected.
It’s important you don’t start exercising or playing sports again until your symptoms have resolved. That way, you can prevent recurrent problems more easily.
If you’ve got tendon issues that don’t seem to want to leave, it’s time you came into Santa Cruz Osteopathic for a consultation with Dr. Bernstein. Give the office a call at 831-464-1605, or book online with us today.