How Sports Medicine Doctors Treat Tendonitis

January 27th, 2022 Orthopedic Associates
How Sports Medicine Doctors Treat Tendonitis

How much is tendonitis affecting your performance in the game? Even if you are only experiencing mild pain or discomfort, these symptoms can affect your function and focus in the moments that matter most.

Instead of pushing through the pain, consider the benefits of talking with a sports medicine doctor. Our team at Orthopedic Associates provides a full range of services, helping you optimize your function both on and off the field.

Keep in mind that early intervention is key to successful tendonitis treatment. So, the best thing you can do is talk to an orthopedic doctor if you suspect an injury or pain.

What is Tendonitis?

Tendons are fibrous connections that attach bones and muscles together. These tissues are critical for function and movement, helping all of the parts work together so you can walk, run, throw, and more.

Tendonitis is a diagnosis when the tendon is painful and inflamed. This diagnosis is quite common among athletes, especially because tendonitis is usually an overuse injury. The repetition of the same motion over and over again can put strain and pressure on the tendon.

Any of your tendons can be affected by this condition, but it is most common in the knees, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and heels.

Examples of tendonitis in athletes include:

  • Pitcher’s Shoulder: The arm repeatedly moving to throw the ball can irritate the tendons in the shoulder area. Usually, the pain radiates from the front area of the shoulder down the arm.
  • Jumper’s Knee: Do you notice pain in the kneecap area that hurts most when you are walking, running, or jumping? This type of tendon injury is common in many sports that require jumping, such as basketball.
  • Tennis Elbow: Tendons in the elbow area can be affected. The pain is usually located on the outer side of the elbow and shoots into the wrist.

Symptoms of Tendinitis

How do you know if you have tendonitis? The only sure answer is to visit an orthopedic specialist for an official diagnosis.

Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain, especially when moving the affected part of the body
  • Mild swelling
  • Tenderness in the area

What Causes Tendonitis?

In most situations, tendonitis is caused by the repetition of a specific movement. But there are instances where these pain issues can occur from a sudden injury.

Most tendonitis cases we see develop because of hobbies and job activities that involve repetitive motions. For example, athletes use similar motions over and over again in practice sessions. These movements put stress on the tendons.

It’s critical that you use proper techniques to reduce the stress on the tendons. A sports medicine doctor and professional sports trainers can offer recommendations to improve your technique and decrease the likelihood of injury.

Risk factors for tendonitis include:

  • Age: The tendons reduce in flexibility as a person gets older, increasing the likelihood of injury.
  • Lifestyle: Any hobby or career tasks that require repetitive motions.
  • Sports: Participating in basketball, baseball, golf, bowling, tennis, swimming, or running could lead to a higher risk of tendonitis.

Do you Need to See a Doctor for Tendonitis?

If tendonitis is mild, then self-care techniques at home are often sufficient to reduce the swelling and pain. However, if you notice that the pain isn’t going away after a few days, it’s time to talk to a doctor about treatment options.

Additionally, consider talking to a sports medicine doctor about preventive measures. Not only do we help with immediate pain treatment, but our team can also reduce the risk of injury in the future.

We work with athletes who want to improve their overall performance. Part of this process is to support the tendons, muscles, bones, and other tissues that work together to help you move.

Orthopedic Specialist: Treatment for Tendonitis

When you meet with an orthopedic doctor, our first step is to determine the diagnosis to ensure we move forward with the ideal treatment plan. Then, each patient receives personalized services based on the type of injury and the part of the body that is affected.

We take a two-part approach for treatment: alleviating immediate pain and reducing the risk of pain and injury in the future.

Treating the inflammation in the tendon and surrounding tissues helps decrease pain at the same time.

Treatment options might include a mix of at-home remedies as well as services from a professional medical team:

Self-Care at Home

Remember the R.I.C.E. acronym when treating tendonitis and other minor sports injuries:

  • Rest: Give your body a break so you don’t stress the tendon. You might be able to switch to lighter activities, such as swimming or yoga, instead of weight training or running.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs can be helpful to reduce swelling and inflammation. Several times a day, place an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression: Compressive bandages or wraps help manage the swelling. Since swelling can interfere with the range of motion, it’s a good idea to compress the affected area and reduce the swelling.
  • Elevation: Lift the injured part of the body above the level of your heart. For example, lay down with your leg resting on a stack of pillows to reduce the swelling.

Medications

Pain-relief medications can be helpful for people with tendonitis. Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter products, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or aspirin. Topical creams offer another option if you don’t want to take pills.

Patients with severe injuries might use prescription pain relievers for a short time. However, these medications are discouraged because of potential side effects and dependency.

Injections

Corticosteroid injections can help to reduce local inflammation and improve joint movement. This medication is injected through a needle to target the painful tendon.

Injections aren’t recommended for patients experiencing chronic tendonitis. Instead, these injections are sometimes used for short-term relief. However, repeated injections can increase the risk of a ruptured tendon because the medication might weaken the tendon.

Physical Therapy

Stretching and strength training can be beneficial to improve the muscle-tendon unit. Not only does physical therapy help with reducing symptoms, but it can also go hand-in-hand with your sports training as well.

A physical therapist provides hands-on support during the appointment. Then, you have exercises to do at home between appointments.

Surgery

In severe cases of tendonitis, surgery might be recommended. This treatment method is necessary when the tendon has pulled away from the bone and needs to be reattached.

Sports Medicine Doctors: Full-Service Treatment for Tendonitis

At Orthopedic Associates, we take a holistic approach to tendonitis treatment. Our sports medicine doctors first work to get the swelling and pain under control. Then, we develop a plan to help you get back on the field with minimal risk of injury.

The longer you participate in sports with tendonitis, the higher the risk of long-term consequences from this injury. If you are experiencing pain, then it’s essential to talk to a sports medicine specialist as soon as possible.

For more information about tendonitis and other types of sports-related injuries, schedule a consultation with us at Orthopedic Associates. Use our online form to book an appointment. Or, call our office at your convenience: (972) 420-1776.

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