Signs of Tendonitis You Shouldn’t Ignore

Signs of Tendonitis You Shouldn’t Ignore

If you develop tendonitis — which occurs when a tendon gets strained or injured — your body sends signals in the form of pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Whether you’re active in sports or recreation, or you work in a career that involves repetitive movements, you’re vulnerable to developing tendonitis.

At Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, board-certified rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, provide a full range of care for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders as well as tendon and joint problems, such as tendonitis. 

It’s important to recognize the signs of tendonitis so you can get the treatment you need to feel and move better. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common tendonitis symptoms to look out for. 

How to tell if tendonitis may be affecting you

There are more than 650 skeletal muscles in the human body, and tendons connect each of these muscles to your bones. Because of this, tendons play a critical role in movement.

Your muscles wouldn't be able to pull the rest of your body along when they contract if you didn't have tendons. While tendons are strong and durable, they’re vulnerable to issues from overuse and damage. Here are common tendonitis signs to watch out for:

Elbow pain

If you're experiencing persistent pain where your elbow and forearm connect, it could be lateral epicondylitis, a type of tendonitis. Overuse from repetitive movements can cause micro-tears in the tendons surrounding your elbow joint, leading to a condition known as “tennis elbow” or “golfer's elbow.” Pain, swelling, and difficulty holding and picking up things are all symptoms of this condition.

However, you don’t need to be an athlete to get tennis elbow. Any repetitive motion involving the elbow could be the culprit. Painting, yard work, cooking, and even playing stringed instruments can cause tennis elbow.

People who work in jobs that require repetitive motion, such as assembly line workers, are more likely to develop tendonitis.

Pain lifting arm above the head

It's possible that tendon irritation in your rotator cuff is causing shoulder pain that prevents you from lifting your arm above your head.

Shoulder tendonitis is frequently linked to swimming and baseball. Overuse injuries, such as “pitcher's shoulder” and “swimmer's shoulder” occur when the shoulder is repeatedly swung in a circular motion.

If you have tendonitis in your shoulder, the surrounding muscles are irritated or damaged. This might result in arm weakness, shoulder laxity, and shoulder and upper back pain. 

Swollen thumbs and wrists

You may get inflammation in your fingers and wrists if you spend a lot of time using a pen or pencil, lifting a baby, or playing the piano.

Thumb and wrist tendon inflammation can make it difficult to grasp and hold objects. When you try to move your thumb, you may experience a “sticking” sensation.

It could be a case of trigger finger if the discomfort is in a finger or upper-thumb joint. A painful cracking or clicking feeling when you try to straighten the joint is the most common sign. A sore nodule at the base of your finger where the tendon is inflamed may also be present.

Unfortunately, both conditions become increasingly common with age. It's critical to seek treatment as soon as possible, because ignoring the symptoms will only make things worse. Fingers that "lock" in a bent position or chronic hand and wrist weakness might result from this.

Other joint pain and swelling

Tendonitis can affect any tendon. Symptoms of tendonitis can also show up in the knees, ankles, and hips.

Keep an eye out for these signs if you've recently suffered a sports injury or have a career or hobby that requires repetitive motion:

You could make the condition much worse if you ignore these signs and continue with your normal activities. If left untreated, tendonitis can progress to chronic tendinosis, causing permanent damage to your tendons. And, it could result in tendon rupture, which usually requires surgery to repair.

Don’t ignore the warning signs of tendon problems. If you have pain or stiffness, call 562-294-6533 to book an appointment with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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