Tag Archive for: tendons

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.

What is Trigger Finger?

Being able to bend your fingers is a movement so natural to everyday use, we can take it for granted. If or when your fingers or thumb catch or lock when bent, it can be a painful condition known as trigger finger.

Ordinarily, the tendons and muscles in your hand and arms bend and straighten your fingers and thumbs. The tendon itself usually glides through the tissue (or sheath) that covers it thanks to the synovium, a lubricating membrane surrounding the joint.

But if the tendon becomes inflamed and swollen, prolonged irritation of the tendon sheath will produce scarring and thickening that inevitably impedes the tendon’s motion. As a result, bending your finger or thumb can tug the inflamed tendon through a narrower sheath, which make it snap or pop.

Repeated movement or the forceful use of the finger or thumb is usually what causes trigger finger. Although it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes, or by grasping something firmly for a long period of time.

That’s why industrial workers, musicians, and farm hands often suffer from trigger finger – because they repeat finger and thumb movements often. The condition is more common among women than men, and occurs most often in people who are between 40 and 60 years old.

How Do You Know You Have Trigger Finger?

One of the most obvious symptoms of trigger finger is when you experience soreness at the base of the finger or thumb. There’s also a painful clicking or snapping sound when you bend or straighten the affected finger. The catching sensation associated with trigger finger tends to get worse after you rest the finger or thumb. The finger or thumb may lock in a bent or straight position as the condition worsens and may need to be gently straightened out with your other hand.

In some cases, the finger may be swollen and there could be a bump over the joint in the palm of the hand. Also, the finger may be stiff and painful or locked in a bent position. Of course, your doctor can examine your hand and fingers and diagnose trigger finger without a lab test or X-ray.

In terms of treating trigger finger, the first step requires resting your finger or thumb. To keep the joint from moving, your doctor may put a splint on your hand.

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may address the inflammation by prescribing drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen. Another option is injecting a steroid into the tendon sheath. Or, if your trigger finger doesn’t improve, your doctor may recommend surgery.

The recovery time from trigger finger will depend on the severity of the condition and the choice of treatment.  Splinting, for example, could last up to six weeks. However, most patients recover within a few weeks provided they rest the finger or thumb and they take anti-inflammatory medication.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs regularly treats injuries to bones and joints, providing the best of care. If you’ve feeling pain in your hands and suspect it may be trigger finger or another condition, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call us at (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.