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Tendonitis Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

If you know someone who participates in sports or leads an active life, odds are you also know someone who suffers from tendonitis. Tendonitis is a relatively common condition that can be quite painful and affect performance, as well as everyday activities that require movement.  Let’s find out exactly what tendonitis is, what symptoms to look for, and which of those symptoms you absolutely shouldn’t ignore.

What Is Tendonitis?

To understand what tendonitis is, it helps to understand anatomy. Tendons are strong, fibrous bands of connective tissue that join our muscles to our bones. When these tendons become inflamed or swollen, it’s called tendonitis. Tendonitis most often is caused by repetitive or over-use of the tendons. Tendonitis is common in athletes because they tend to overuse their tendons doing repetitive motions for their sports activities. When too much stress is placed on the tendons in areas such as the wrist, knee, or ankle, tendonitis can develop. Common forms of tendonitis include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, swimmer’s shoulder, or pitcher’s shoulder.

Common Symptoms of Tendonitis

Symptoms of tendonitis tend to vary depending on the person and which part of the body is affected. Most of the symptoms tend to occur at the location where the tendon attaches to the bone. Although each person is different, some common signs of tendonitis include:

  • A dull pain or tenderness near the joint that tends to worsen with activity.
  • Swelling and inflammation in and around the area near the tendon/bone.
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning.
  • A grating feeling when the joint moves.
  • Warm, tender or inflamed skin that covers the tendon.
  • Additional discomfort and pain at night, especially after a day filled with strenuous activity.

Symptoms that Warrant a Call to the Orthopedist

In most cases, tendonitis responds rather well to medication, rest, and physical therapy. However, if your symptoms worsen or if you notice additional symptoms developing, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. Symptoms that you should not ignore include:

  • Redness or swelling around the joint that does not go away.
  • Fever and/or chills, usually indicating infection.
  • A sudden increase in pain or tenderness.
  • A sudden inability to move your joint.
  • No relief after a few days of resting, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and/or icing the joint.

What to Expect at Your First Doctor’s Visit

Upon your first visit, your orthopedist may order x-rays or other imaging tests such as an MRI to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may also draw your blood and take a sample of any fluid that may have accumulated in your joint. Studying your blood and the fluid from your joint can clue your doctor in as to whether there is any sign of infection or damage, such as bursitis.

Once your doctor has ruled out any serious conditions such as infection, he can focus on caring for the tendonitis with a combination of treatments such as medication, injections, and physical/occupational therapy. If conservative treatments still do not relieve your tendonitis, your doctor may suggest surgical option.

There is no need to suffer from tendonitis. The doctors at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence are board-certified professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating tendonitis and other orthopedic concerns. The doctors and staff pride themselves in providing the best care possible, delivered with compassion and respect. We would be honored and privileged to be involved in your care. Call (719) 623-1050 or use our online form to request an appointment online today.

Can Your Orthopedic Doctor Treat Fibromyalgia

You may have heard about fibromyalgia on television advertisements, or from someone you know. However, without a visit to an orthopedic surgeon, most people may not know what this condition exactly is, or the symptoms that come with it.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes aches and pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia also have “tender points” throughout their bodies. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs that hurt when pressure is put on them.

Fibromyalgia affects as many as five million Americans aged 18 and older. Most people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80 – 90 percent), however, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age. Fibromyalgia can occur by itself, but people with certain other diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis, may be more likely to have it. Individuals who have a close relative with fibromyalgia are also more likely to develop it themselves.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

People with fibromyalgia often see many doctors before being diagnosed. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, also are symptoms of many other conditions. Therefore, doctors must often rule out other possible causes of these symptoms before diagnosing fibromyalgia.  Your orthopedic surgeon can treat your fibromyalgia based on these criteria:

1.       A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months: Pain must be present in both the right and left sides of the body as well as above and below the waist.

2.       Presence of tender points: The body has 18 sites that are possible tender points. For a fibromyalgia diagnosis, a person must have 11 or more tender points. For a point to be “tender,” the patient must feel pain when pressure is put on the site. People who have fibromyalgia may feel pain at other sites, too, but those 18 sites on the body are used for diagnosis.

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, as much so as it can be to diagnose. It’s important to find a doctor who has treated others with fibromyalgia. Treatment often requires a team approach. The team may include your orthopedic doctor, a physical therapist, and possibly other health care providers.

To learn more about fibromyalgia, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball portion of the joint consists of the rounded head of the upper arm bone (humerus), and the socket portion is made up of a depression (glenoid) in the shoulder blade. The humeral head (ball) fits into the glenoid (socket), creating the joint that allows you to move your shoulder. The joint is surrounded and lined by cartilage, muscles, and tendons that provide support and stability and make it easy for you to move. It’s your shoulder joint that lets you rotate your arm in all directions. Your range of motion depends on the proper articulation of the humeral head upon the glenoid.

In a healthy shoulder joint, the surfaces of these bones where the ball and socket rub together are very smooth, and covered with a tough protective tissue called cartilage. Arthritis causes damage to the bone surfaces and cartilage. These damaged surfaces eventually become painful as they rub together. With that said, there are many different reasons why you could be feeling shoulder pain, including injury, infection, and arthritis.

Shoulder pain can be either acute or chronic, depending on when a diagnosis was made and how long the pain or disability has been felt for. An acute shoulder injury occurs suddenly either through direct impact, by overstretching a muscle, tendon or ligament, overusing a muscle or tendon, or twisting of the shoulder joint. However, if pain becomes chronic, it is important that you see an orthopedic doctor. While chronic pain is considered pain that lasts longer than six months, if the pain doesn’t seem right you should seek help as soon as possible.

Many shoulder problems are caused by the breakdown of soft tissues in the shoulder region. Using the shoulder too much can cause the soft tissue to break down faster as people get older. Doing manual labor and playing sports can also cause shoulder problems, whether from overuse or by sudden injury. The most common shoulder pain problems are:

  •       Dislocation
  •       Separation
  •       Rotator cuff disease
  •       Rotator cuff tear
  •       Frozen shoulder
  •       Fracture
  •       Arthritis

Whatever the reason, continuing to suffer with shoulder pain shouldn’t have to be your only option. To learn more about the shoulder and the most common causes of shoulder pain, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment, or request one online.

Hip Pain, Shoulder Pain and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes aches and pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia also have “tender points” throughout their bodies. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs that hurt when pressure is put on them.

Fibromyalgia affects as many as five million Americans ages 18 and older. Most people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80 – 90 percent). However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age. Fibromyalgia can occur by itself, but people with certain other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other types of arthritis, may be more likely to have it. Individuals who have a close relative with fibromyalgia are also more likely to develop it themselves.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

  • The causes of fibromyalgia are not yet known. Researchers think a number of factors might be involved. Fibromyalgia can occur on its own, but has also been linked to:
  • Having a family history of fibromyalgia
  • Being exposed to stressful or traumatic events, such as:
  • Car accidents
  • Injuries to the body caused by performing the same action over and over again (called “repetitive” injuries)
  • Infections or illnesses

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

People with fibromyalgia often see many doctors before being diagnosed. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, also are symptoms of many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often must rule out other possible causes of these symptoms before diagnosing fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia cannot be found by a lab test. A doctor who knows about fibromyalgia, however, can make a diagnosis based upon two criteria:

  1. A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months. Pain must be present in both the right and left sides of the body as well as above and below the waist.
  2. Presence of tender points. The body has 18 sites that are possible tender points. For fibromyalgia diagnosis, a person must have 11 or more tender points. For a point to be “tender,” the patient must feel pain when pressure is put on the site. People who have fibromyalgia may feel pain at other sites, too, but those 18 sites on the body are used for diagnosis.

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It’s important to find a doctor who has treated others with fibromyalgia. Many family doctors, general internists, or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who treat arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints and soft tissues.

Treatment often requires a team approach. The team may include your doctor, a physical therapist, and possibly other health care providers. A pain or rheumatology clinic can be a good place to get treatment. Treatment for fibromyalgia may include the following:

Getting enough sleep: Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Most adults need seven to eight hours of “restorative” sleep per night. Restorative sleep leaves you feeling well-rested and ready for your day to start when you wake up. It is hard for people with fibromyalgia to get a good night’s sleep. It is important to discuss any sleep problems with your doctor, who can then recommend proper treatment.

Exercising: Although pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it is crucial to be as physically active as possible. Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. People who have too much pain or fatigue to do hard exercise should just begin to move more and become more active in routine daily activities. They can begin with walking (or other gentle exercise) and build their endurance and intensity slowly.

Eating well: Although some people with fibromyalgia report feeling better when they eat or avoid certain foods, no specific diet has been proven to influence fibromyalgia. Of course, it is important to have a healthy, balanced diet. Not only will proper nutrition give you more energy and make you generally feel better, it will also help you avoid other health problems.

Pain management: Three medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia. These are pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). Other medications are being developed and may also receive FDA approval in the future. Your doctor may also suggest non-narcotic pain relievers, low-dose antidepressants, or other classes of medications that might help improve certain symptoms.

Other treatments: Complementary therapies may help you. Talk to your physician before trying any alternative treatments. These include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Myofascial release therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Light aerobics
  • Acupressure
  • Applying heat or cold
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Breathing techniques
  • Aromatherapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Nutritional supplements

To learn more information about fibromyalgia, and if you may have it, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

Could Your Sports Career Lead to Knee Pain?

The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat, round bone that protects the knee joint. Your knees provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. Due to their intricacies, the hip and knee joints are the least stable in the body, susceptible to accelerated aging, deterioration, strain, and repetitive injuries. If the knee becomes injured, it can be due to many different things, but your sports career is a common one. Some sports may take more of a toll on the knees than others, such as distance running and basketball, while others tend to present more opportunities for impact, such as football or soccer.

If you are an athlete, and have ever sat on the sidelines with a knee injury, you probably appreciate more than ever, about how your knees have powered you through various sports and activities: kicking, jumping, running, and pivoting. Sport injuries can affect almost any part of the body, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments).

Although a knee problem is often caused by an injury to one or more of these structures, it may have another cause. Some people are more likely to develop knee problems than others. In other words, all those working parts mean there are bunches of ways to injure a knee. Many jobs, sports and recreation activities, getting older, or having a disease such as osteoporosis or arthritis increase your chances of having problems with your knees.  Common causes for injuries are overuse from repetitive motions, sudden stops or twists, or direct blows to the knee. To avoid knee injuries, it helps to understand how your knees work and what you can do to protect them.

Common knee injuries due to sports:

  • Sprains and Strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Meniscus Tears (ACL, MCL)
  • Fractures and Dislocations

When overuse damage, orthopedic trauma, or sports injuries occur, it can be devastating to your game, your workouts, your physical health, and your mental health. That is why the sports medicine specialists at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence work just as hard as you play your game to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and world-class care. Our goal is to return you to play as quickly as possible, while preventing re-injury and improving your body’s response to stress. 

Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete who is experiencing knee pain, our sports medicine specialists at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence can help. Call our office at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment, or you can request one online.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Vs. Arthritis

Like everybody else, you rely on the use of your hands for almost everything you do on a daily basis. Unfortunately, when you start to experience constant pain and discomfort in your hands and wrists, these simple tasks often become uncomfortable and more difficult. Two big culprits of this type of pain are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and both conditions are infamous for the pain and discomfort they bring to the hands and wrists. Since both of these conditions lead to a similar type of pain, they can be easily confused. You should know that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis are different conditions, and ultimately may have different treatments and outcomes.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is an area on the palm side of your wrist, which is made up of bones and ligaments. This area houses a main nerve to your hand, known as the median nerve, as well as the nine tendons that bend your fingers. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except your little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb.

This condition causes a tingling and numbness in your fingers and hand, often when you’re holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper. This sensation can even wake you up from sleeping and may extend from your wrist up your arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome stems from anything that crowds, irritates or compresses the median nerve, such as a wrist fracture, swelling or inflammation.

Treatment:

In mild cases of this disorder, you can ease discomfort by taking frequent breaks to rest your hands. Try to avoid activities that worsen your symptoms, and even apply cold packs to reduce any swelling and inflammation. If these don’t relieve your symptoms within a few weeks, your doctor may recommend additional options such as wrist splinting, medications or surgery depending on how advanced the disorder is.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

RA is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation, typically affecting the small joints in your hands as well as your feet. This condition isn’t caused by wear and tear, but rather it occurs when your immune system attacks your own body’s tissues. Specifically, it targets the lining of your joints, leading to painful swelling that can cause severe joint problems.

Treatment:

Although there isn’t a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are medications that reduce joint inflammation to relieve pain and slow joint damage. If you have RA, your rheumatologist may recommend occupational or physical therapy so you can learn to protect your joints and keep them flexible. If RA severely damages joints, surgery may be necessary.

If you would like to find out more information about Rheumatoid Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.