What is Tendinitis?

What is a tendon, what is tendinitis and how are they related?

A tendon is a band of an elastic stretchy tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. The primary function of a tendon is to move a bone or a body part. Tendinitis is a deterioration of the elasticity, or stretchiness, of tissue due to wear and tear. Statistically, people in their 20s or under do not usually get tendinitis. People in their 30s, whether active or not, may start to experience tendinitis due to wear and tear. There are also genetic factors associated with tendinitis. People can have really tight muscles or a foot shape that encourages tendonitis. Certains jobs that require repetitive motion can lead to tendinitis. Athletics, such as running, can also cause tendonitis due to the repetitive motion.

What are normal symptoms of tendinitis?

Pain is the primary symptom. Sharp pain that dulls during activity is a common sign of tendonitis. Tendinitis can also cause chronic pain that doesn’t go away. The pain is often associated with a particular motion, which can be reviewed with equipment such as an MRI. Knowing the specific location helps podiatrists decide whether tendinitis is the culprit since certain locations on the body are more prone to tendinitis. Swelling can be a side effect of tendinitis. This could require more acute treatment or ceasing activities associated with the pain. For example, if you work on your feet all day in a specific type of shoe, a podiatrist could simply have you try a new style of shoe or insert to see if that helps with the pain. Other instances of tendinitis may require more tests or treatment options to determine the cause.

What are common activities that can also lead to tendinitis?

Anything that requires repetitive motion, such as running. Take Achilles tendonitis, for instance. The Achilles tendon stretches and retracts with each step to propel you forward. Another cause of tendinitis is the lack of stretching.

What is the difference between achilles tendinitis, posterior tibial tendinitis and peroneal tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis is the most common form of tendinitis. The difference between teach type is the location. The posterior tibial tendon is responsible for holding the arch up. So if you have a collapsed arch or a flat foot, that tendon has been stretched too much and becomes inflamed and begins hurting. The peroneal tendon is on the outer part of the ankle. If you have a higher arch, your foot will turn in a little bit more and pull that outer tendon. 

What are the top DIY or at-home treatments for tendinitis? What are the top medical treatments for tendinitis?

The R.I.C.E. method is the go-to at-home therapy. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. People also use over-the-counter braced or an ACE bandage and elevate the affected area if swollen. KT tape is a great way to provide muscle support and joint support. It is recommended to visit a doctor before using KT tape to avoid making the issue worse.

What is the best way to prevent tendinitis?

Proper stretching is the key to preventing tendinitis. 

Do I need surgery for tendinitis?

Tendinitis usually gets better with rest, so podiatrists will exhaust all non-surgical treatment options prior to discussing surgical intervention. There are alternative treatment options available when R.I.C.E. therapy isn’t enough. STEM cell inducer injections have become popular alternatives to surgery, though they are not covered by insurance and can be expensive. If someone has surgery, they will be immobilized for a couple of months before being allowed to start moving again. Doctors never jump into surgery lightly because the consequences can be high. Healing can be incredibly slow and painful. 

Think of a tendon as a piece of string cheese. If you cut one of the tiny threads, it’s going to hurt a lot, but the tendon is still mostly intact. So it may not be worth going through surgery to repair the tiny tear.

What are some current alternative treatment options for tendinitis?

Full spectrum CBD oil can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including around the tendons. Patients are getting good results using CBD. You don’t currently need a prescription for CBD oil since it’s available over the counter. Another overlooked method is acupuncture.

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