Are you experiencing pain in your elbow, shoulder, knee, or foot? Does it intensify when you do your usual day-to-day activities? You might be suffering from tendonitis. But before we dive into this condition, let us first understand what tendons are.
What are Tendons?
Tendons are fibrous, connective tissues that bind a muscle to a body part. It can be to another muscle, a bone, or structures such as the eyeball. When the muscle exerts effort, the tendon contracts and pulls at the body part attached to its other end. This creates body movement.
Tendons can be as huge as the rope-like cords between your heel bone and calf muscle. Or, they can be as tiny as the muscle found in your inner ear. No matter the size, they are tough and dense, yet flexible.
What is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis, or tendinitis, is when the tendon suffers from irritation, inflammation, or tears. This causes pain and swelling, which limit movements in the affected area. Anyone can have this condition, but older people are more susceptible to it.
Types of Tendonitis
Tendonitis can occur anywhere in the body. However, it occurs more commonly in the base of the thumb, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and heels.
In this article, we will mention the three most common types, with special focus on Achilles tendonitis.
Medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, affects tendons connected to the bone inside your elbow. It is more commonly known as golfer’s elbow, it is also brought about by other activities such as weight training, climbing, and throwing anything then become possible.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
Rotator cuff tendonitis targets tendons in the shoulder. This is mainly due to the overuse of the shoulders from repetitive overhead movements. Hence, people of any age can suffer from it, causing pain on the upper arm and shoulder.
Achilles tendonitis is the irritation and inflammation of the tendon at the back of your lower leg. This tendon, also called the Achilles tendon, is the largest in the body. Connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone, it is responsible for movements such as walking or running, jumping, and climbing stairs.
There are two types of Achilles Tendonitis: Noninsertional and Insertional.
Noninsertional Achilles Tendinitis
Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis affects the side of the tendon that connects to the calf muscle. The tendon’s middle fibres degenerate. As a result, these fibres develop micro-tears and become swollen and thick.
This condition is more common among young and active people.
Insertional Achilles Tendinitis
Insertional Achilles tendinitis affects the side of the tendon that connects or “inserts” to the heel bone. It then causes bone spur to develop around the affected area. This leads to irritation and damages the tendon further.
It is more common among older people who have become less active in their late years, like former long-distance runners.
Symptoms and Treatment
Aside from pain, common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include the calcifying or hardening of the tendon, swelling (which worsens with activity), and bone spur. If you feel any of these, it is best to stay away from activities that put pressure on the lower legs.
The type and length of treatment depend on the severity of the condition. But in any case, nonsurgical treatment is first used on the patient. This includes applying ice packs, stretching, and strengthening the affected area through certain exercises. This generally goes the same for the other types of tendonitis.
If the patient does not respond to the treatment within six months, then surgical treatment becomes necessary.
Achilles Tendonitis? Contact Adelaide Foot and Ankle
If you think you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, contact us today for an appointment to better assess your condition.