Definition of Tendinitis

Tendinitis or Tendonitis is a degenerative type of arthritis. A tendon is a specialized fibrous tissue found in the joint capsule. It is attached to the bone tissue by connecting muscles and bones. A tendon is a type of collagen tissue found at the end of all muscles which connect to a bony structure.

Inflammation of tendons is a common type acute arthritis predominant in young athletes. Acute calcific tendonitis is another severe variant of tendinitis. It is characterized by depositions of crystal salts of calcium in the tendons causing significant joint morbidity.

Causes of Tendinitis

Tendinitis arthritis is typically an arthritis of wear and tear. No genetic predisposition or gender predilection has been associated with it. Tendinitis can be caused by:

  • Sports injury e.g. golfing
  • Persistent, repetitive use of a particular joint e.g. prolonged hours of shoveling
  • Poor posture
  • Comorbid arthritis e.g. osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Certain use of medication e.g. antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, statins etc.
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Symptoms of Tendinitis

With tendinitis arthritis, the onset of symptoms is typically sudden and continues over days. There is a tendency of symptom recurrence.

Tendinitis arthritis can be symmetric or asymmetric; depending on the site of injury. It can be monoarticular (one joint) or polyarticular (many joints). Size of joint involved can be small, middle or large e.g. hip joint, wrist joint, elbow joint etc. A person may complain of:

  • Acute shooting pain that is either constant or intensifies over hours to days
  • Loss of functional joint mobility
  • Joint stiffness
  • Increased warmth and redness in the joint region

In acute calcific tendonitis, the calcium crystal deposits tend to cause significant swelling within the joint that results in an outward bulge of the joint. This is accompanied by characteristic tenderness to superficial touch.

Treatment of Tendinitis

Tendinitis arthritis is a self-limiting disease. Symptoms may resolve spontaneously when the aggravating factors are removed i.e. refraining from repetitive activities. However, when symptoms persist, it is advisable to see Dr. Burke, our orthopedic specialist.  His therapeutic goals in tendinitis arthritis are alleviating symptoms, preventing further damage and resolving the arthritis.  Dr. Burke follows a systematic approach to patient care by offering the follow treatment plans:

  • Rest and joint immobilization using splints
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Limb elevation
  • Joint compression therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Use of prescribed meds e.g. NSAIDS, steroids and rarely DMARDS

Orthopedic surgery e.g. removing tendon