Tendinosis is a condition which occurs when the tendons start to break down or degenerate. This happens because the tendons might have minuscule tears or disorganized collagen fibers rather than straight collagen fibers. The condition typically occurs in the tendons of the Achilles heel, knee, hip, elbow, and shoulder. Tendinosis is also linked to some underlying conditions such as swimmer's shoulder and tennis elbow. Usually, you can ease the symptoms of tendinosis using ice and anti-inflammatory medication.
Since the condition affects the tendons, you should first know what they are. Tendons are bands of tissue which are cord-like and which connect the muscles and the bones. The tissues of the tendons are of a fibrous and tough substance known as collagen. This substance is so strong that it can withstand tension and force. But too much force or constant force which happens over time can cause tears in the tissues which leads to tendinosis and other similar injuries.
Both tendinosis and tendinitis refer to conditions which affect the tendons. They're quite similar, and they also sound alike, so people often confuse them with one another. Right now, the community is still trying to define these terms correctly. In fact, tendinosis happens when the tendon tissues degenerate, and it also involves some level of inflammation. It's also a long-term, chronic condition. On the other hand, tendinitis occurs when there is a pain in the tendons because of inflammation. Doctors can distinguish between these two conditions by using an MRI or ultrasound to scan the area that's affected.
Usually, the leading cause of tendinosis is when you overuse your tendons. Other significant causes include physical traumas or injuries. So those who have professions or hobbies which require a lot of tendon usage are more likely to develop the condition. Also, tendinosis is also more likely to happen in older adults because their joints start to lose flexibility as they age. Finally, people who have arthritis and other joint conditions are also more susceptible to tendinosis.
When you suffer from tendinosis, this means that your tendons are starting to harden, thicken, and degenerate. The condition causes a loss of flexibility as well as pain in the affected area. The most common symptom of the condition is swelling and a burning pain around the affected tendon. Usually, the pain worsens while during and after doing a stressful activity. You may also notice joint stiffness and restricted movement in the joint too. In some cases, you may feel the pain for some months.
When you have tendinosis, and you start noticing the symptoms, it's important to consult with a medical professional for the proper diagnosis. It's especially crucial for you to seek help if the pain you feel persists for days and starts to interfere with your daily activities. Also, if the pain rapidly worsens and you begin to have a fever, get yourself checked. A doctor can diagnose the condition through a physical exam and also by checking your medical history. The doctor performs specific tests such as an MRI, x-ray or ultrasound to rule out other injuries.
When you're suffering from a mild case of tendinosis, then you may not need to consult with a doctor. Instead, there are some treatments you can do at home to help ease your condition. For one, try to avoid any activities which may worsen your situation. However, you can still go about your normal routine as much as you can. If there's any swelling, apply a cold pack on the affected area each time the pain starts. Also, compressing the affected area using an elastic bandage can help reduce the swelling. If the swelling stops, take a hot bath or place a heating pad on the area to promote the healing and ease the pain. Enhance the circulation by elevating the affected area and take some over-the-counter medications if you can take the pain.
If you have persistent or severe tendinosis, then you can consult with a doctor to get treatment. You have to undergo physical therapy to make your muscles and tendons stronger and also to preserve their range of movement. The doctor also administers corticosteroids into the affected area which are potent anti-inflammatory medications. These injections help ease the pain and swelling, but they may heighten the risk of tendon rupture. You also have the option of surgical repair, but this treatment is very rarely used.
Tendons typically have a low blood supply; it takes a reasonably long time for them to heal. Therefore, tendinosis may take three months up to half a year to heal. Fortunately, physical therapy and other forms of treatment may help improve your outlook when you suffer from this condition. Patient suffering from this condition must consult a physiotherapist without any delay.
If you want to prevent tendinosis, then make sure to keep your tendons protected from injuries. If you feel any pain while performing a specific activity, stop first and rest. Also, ensure that your daily workspace follows the ergonomic principles. Match the height of your chair, keyboard, and desktop to the length of your arm. If you do a lot of sports, make sure your clothes and equipment are all in excellent condition. Also, make sure everything you're using is appropriate to the sport you engage in and that they all conform to the most recent safety standards. Do your stretches before and after your exercise to enhance your range of motion. Use the proper technique and form when you play sports. If you're not sure, ask for advice from professionals. Then do some cross-training once in a while to allow your joints and tendons to rest.
Yes, treatment for tendinosis is quite challenging. But in the long-run, the outlook for this condition is excellent. About 80% of those suffering from tendinosis recover entirely in a matter of months depending on the severity of their condition. It's important to note though that if left untreated, the condition may result in ruptured tendons. That's why when it comes to tendinosis, early diagnosis and treatment is vital.
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