What Is Tendinosis?
Tendinosis is a condition in which the tendons become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain and stiffness in the affected area. It may cause swelling or tenderness. In some cases, it may lead to deformity of the bones (osteoporosis). Tendinitis can affect any part of your body but most commonly affects your wrists, ankles, knees and toes. It is caused by overuse and repetitive stress on the tendons.
How Does Tendinosis Affect Your Body?
The symptoms of tendinosis vary from person to person depending upon the type of tendon involved. Some types are more common than others. For example, wrist tendons are more likely to develop tendinosis than those in other parts of your body such as your elbows or shoulders. Other types of tendons are less likely to develop tendinosis. However, if they do develop it will usually not heal completely. If this happens, the affected joint may continue to have pain and/or discomfort even after the tendon has healed fully.
Tendonitis is a term used when the symptoms of tendinosis worsen due to an infection causing inflammation in another part of your body. This is quite rare.
What Are The Common Types Of Tendinosis?
Tendinitis is a type of tendinosis that affects the small tendon in your elbow called the “Biceps Tendon.” It is a common condition affecting those who do activities that involve repetitive and forceful movements of the arm such as: weightlifting, throwing a ball, etc. This condition may also arise from putting pressure on your arm, if you sleep in an awkward position or place too much stress on the muscle by carrying heavy objects. The most common symptoms are pain and tenderness at the front and back of your elbow. It may also cause a loss of strength in the muscles of your arm.
Rotator Cuff Tendinosis
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help support your shoulder. The tendons can become inflamed if overused or strained such as when you participate in activities that require lifting, pulling or pushing, e.g. weight training. Other activities such as throwing a ball, swimming or tennis can also contribute.
It is common in people who participate in contact sports such as rugby or American football. Other symptoms may include a gradual loss of movement in the shoulder.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a form of tendinosis that affects the forearm muscles on the side of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). It is most often seen in those that participate in sports that require repetitive wrist and finger motions such as tennis, racquet sports or weight lifting. It can also occur in those that do a lot of digging with the elbow such as when gardening. Other activities that require the use of heavy tools such as drills or hammers can also cause this condition. It causes pain on the outside of the elbow and feels worse when using your forearm muscles.
Pain may also travel down to your fingers.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
There is no 100% cure for tennis elbow, however, the condition can be managed and in most cases it can be treated effectively. The most common treatment options are:
Rest: Your doctor may recommend that you do not put any weight on your arms and rest them entirely for a period of time.
Painkillers: Over-the-counter pain relievers may be recommended to help manage the pain
Strengthening exercises: Your doctor may also recommend a strengthening exercise regimen where you can gradually put stress on your forearm muscles again.
Chronic Tennis Elbow
In some cases, the symptoms of tennis elbow may last for an extended period of time or may not respond well to conservative treatment measures. Surgery may be recommended in these cases.
Rotator Cuff Tendinosis Treatment
The most common treatment for rotator cuff tendinosis is conservative (non-surgical) and may involve the use of anti-inflammatory medications, ice or heat treatment, pain relievers, restricted activity and physical therapy. In more severe cases where the tendon has suffered severe damage or if there are signs of partial or complete tears of the rotator cuff, surgery may be required to either repair or replace the tendon.
In a surgical procedure called an Operation of Bankart (Bankart repair), a surgeon may fix partial or full tears in the rotator cuff. Bankart repair is not always successful and if the damage is too severe, your surgeon may suggest a rotator cuff repair or replacement. In a rotator cuff repair, your surgeon would re-attach the torn tendon back onto the shoulder blade and in a rotator cuff replacement, your surgeon would attach a tendon from elsewhere in your body (usually the hamstring in your leg) onto your shoulder blade.
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE?
Rotator cuff tendinosis is a condition that usually affects people over the age of forty. However, younger people can also be affected. The treatment options will depend on the severity and type of injury that has occurred to the rotator cuff.Because rotator cuff surgery is major surgery with significant recovery time and post-operative rehabilitation, your surgeon will recommend these procedures only if absolutely necessary. Your surgeon will examine your rotator cuff and determine if the injury can heal with rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and other non-surgical options. If these measures do not produce the desired effect of restoring range of motion and strength to the shoulder and you continue to experience pain that gets worse despite these treatments, surgery may be necessary
This article has provided a brief overview of the types of surgeries that may be performed to treat patients suffering from rotator cuff injuries.
- Chronic achilles tendinosis (H Alfredson, R Lorentzon – Sports medicine, 2000 – Springer)
- Heavy-load eccentric calf muscle training for the treatment of chronic Achilles tendinosis (H Alfredson, T Pietilä, P Jonsson… – The American journal …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com)
- Midportion Achilles tendinosis and the plantaris tendon (H Alfredson – British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2011 – bjsm.bmj.com)
- Elbow tendinosis/tennis elbow (RP Nirschl – Clinics in sports medicine, 1992 – Elsevier)