Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Although the name is common, a lot of people still have doubts about what tendonitis. The problem, which can affect people of all ages, is summarized as inflammation of one or more tendons. It can occur in any body of the tendon, but involves more often the tendons of the shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists, ankles and feet.

José Ribamar Moreno, rheumatologist, pain specialist, master's degree in medicine from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and responsible coordinator of the Intensive Pain Treatment Center (CTIDor), explains that the tendinitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the tendons, which are the structures that transmit muscle pull to the bone and allow movement. "They may be small, as in the hands, or large, like the heel tendon" he says.

The causes of tendinitis, according to the expert, are almost always mechanical, because of repeated and prolonged effort, excessive force or vicious position. "They can also be chemical, when related to dehydration of tendons and muscles, as well as inadequate food, which can cause the accumulation of toxins in the body," he says.

Moreno stressed that the tendons of the lower limbs close to the joints of the ankle and knee, as Achilles tendon and patellar are the most affected.

Tendinitis is often related to the profession or activity of the patient, when, for example, it makes repetitive movements to perform their function.

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"Professions or activities with a heavy load or impact can be associated with the main triggering factors are trauma or repeated trauma tendon," said Moreno.

Examples of professionals who may be affected by tendinitis are: telephone operators, pianists, dancers, athletes (tennis players, football players, volleyball and handball), digitizers etc.

Symptoms you should not ignore

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Photo: Getty Images

But, after all, what are the signs that are actually associated with tendonitis?

Below Moreno talks about the main symptoms of tendinitis in different parts of the body:

Tendonitis in the shoulder (tendinitis of the biceps)

  • Pain when moving the arm or shoulder, mainly above the shoulder movements.
  • Pain on palpation (touch) of the region.

Tendonitis in the elbow (tendonitis Triceps)

  • Pain when bending and / or stretching of the arm.
  • Stiffness in the muscle and tendon of the elbow.
  • Swelling near the elbow.

Tendinitis in the knees

  • Pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon and behind him.
  • Pain when walking or physical activity.
  • Pain when going up and down stairs.
  • Pain when bending or stretching the leg.
  • Swelling in the knee.

Tendonitis in the hip

  • Hip pain, which may radiate to the leg.
  • Difficulty moving the leg, walking, sitting or lying on the affected side.
  • frequent cramps, especially after a rest time.

Tendonitis in wrists and hands

  • Local pain.
  • Edema.
  • Limitation of movement of the hands.

Tendonitis in the ankles and feet.

  • Swelling and stiffness in the tendon.
  • Severe pain after exercise.
  • Pain when lifting the toes and / or stretch.
  • ankle movement limitation.

Causes of tendinitis and risk factors

Note that the tendon is not elastic as muscle, and not as strong as the bone. Thus, in case of overload, it is the structure that usually suffer the most.

Moreno stresses that the causes of tendinitis are often mechanical: due to repeated and prolonged effort, excessive force or vicious position. But they may still be associated with dehydration tendons and muscles, and also to inadequate power supply (which can cause the accumulation of toxins in the body).

There are some important risk factors. Moreno explains that there are multiple factors that are associated and, at one point, have symptoms of tendinitis. The main ones are:

  • postural problems;
  • repetitive and prolonged movements;
  • Excess power;
  • Deformities such as shortening member;
  • Foot deformity;
  • The use of mismatched footwear;
  • anatomic causes local;
  • General causes, such as overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and low aerobic fitness.

All this, according to the expert, can cause damage and inflammation framework tendon, known as tendinitis.

As tendonitis diagnosed?

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Photo: Getty Images

Moreno explained that the diagnosis is based on physical examination and reporting of the patient. "The specialist will look for evidence of sensitivity and pain in the locations indicated by the patient and make specific tests for each tendon. Imaging tests may be required to assess the degree of inflammation and confirm the physical exam, "says rheumatologist.

"After aerobic activities, stretching are a type of preparation to whether each part of the body is fulfilling the full angle necessary for the practice of movement in that sport and everything is fine, if there is no limitation, pain or something prevent the realization of movement. For example, the shoulder must make a 180-degree movement, "adds the expert.

It is important to see a doctor when you notice the signs associated with tendonitis, especially when they persist. In the query, you need to describe all the symptoms and take to dispel doubts about the problem (for example, ask whether or not you can keep doing a certain activity etc.).

What are the treatment options?

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Photo: Getty Images

Brown notes that treatment should be done immediately place in ice for 40 minutes 3 to 6 times a day, analgesics and anti-inflammatories for 5 days. "There are also physical analgesic therapies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, its acronym in English)," he says.

"It is important to get a physical therapy monitored to stabilize the joint, tendons and muscles involved in the function and the affected limb movement. In severe cases of ruptures (breaks), crippling pain and functional deficit, treatment should only be performed by an expert, "said Moreno.

Note that medication should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor. "Self-medication may mask symptoms, so it is important to have an adequate and targeted treatment from the beginning, especially in professional athletes," says the expert.

"Tendinitis can lead to pain in the body region, and disability, loss of muscle mass, bone loss, chronic pain and sometimes permanent disability in more severe cases," says Moreno.

alternative treatments

Moreno emphasized that the physical therapies, such as putting ice pack wrapped in thin wet towel 3 times a day for 40 minutes for 2 weeks, are essential.

"The heat ultrasound or short-wave, physical therapy manipulation, asymmetric exercise therapy, acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical stimulation are also important in the treatment of tendinitis," adds the expert.

Preventing tendinitis?

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Photo: Getty Images

1. Get medical help. "The best way to avoid tendonitis is, after feeling pain or any symptoms resembling a muscle or tendon injury, seek a specialist and start a well-prescribed treatment that involves reducing pain and symptoms and intensive and accelerated rehabilitation . Medical experts in pain and orthopedic area are the most suitable, "explains Moreno.

2. Reduce the load in sports and maintain high conditioning. "To those who practice sports, the best form of prevention is to try to reduce the load on the tendons of the lower limbs and maintain high aerobic conditioning, as the tendons do not have blood vessels and need a lot of oxygen to function well and quickly regenerate. One of the key factors to maintain the high blood flow and, therefore, good oxygenation of the tendons, is hydration or even hyper-hydration in cases of more strenuous sports, "the expert guides.

3. Stretch yourself. Stretching before and after exercise is also recommended.

4. Avoid repetitive, prolonged movements, excessive force or vicious position. "It is necessary to remove all the local factors that can promote the emergence of injuries and avoid direct accidents and trauma," said Moreno. An important habit that can be adopted, for example, is take more breaks during work.

Finally, it is worth remembering that only a doctor can tell which is the most appropriate type of treatment for your case, whether or not required the use of medicine. The important thing is to always follow strictly the guidelines of the professional and never self-medicate (which could mask the symptoms of tendonitis).