By Rachel Consolazio, PTA
What is Peritendinitis?
The quick answer, Peritendinitis looks like one of those medical terms that you may hear your Doctor say or, more likely, see written on a medical report, but you have no idea how to make any sense of it. You may be more familiar with a similar term: tendonitis, the inflammation of a tendon.
When tendonitis occurs outside of an elbow joint, it is referred to as lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow. To give a formal definition: it is the inflammation of the tendon sheath, where the muscle connects to the bone. The suffix “itis” is a Latin term for inflammation. Both tendonitis and peritendinitis can occur in different tendon areas all over the human body. These two terms may occur interchangeably by your healthcare provider. All you need to know is your tendon is irritated and inflamed.
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Types of Peritendinitis
Peritendinitis can become very painful and even chronic if not properly treated. The ankle, shoulder joint, and wrist are common areas where the condition occurs. Achilles Peritendinitis is one of the most common causes of peritendinitis. The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon located at the back of the ankle joint, connecting the calf muscles to the foot’s heel. Achilles peritendinitis is an excruciating inflammation of the sheath tissue covering this important tendon.
The condition can limit the ability to walk, stand for prolonged periods of time or climb stairs due to severe pain at the heel’s back. When peritendinitis occurs at the shoulder joint, it usually involves the rotator cuff muscles’ tendons. This can cause a range of motion restrictions and pain during everyday activities, like reaching and lifting.
A less common diagnosis is Peritendinitis Calcarea. This is a disorder in which calcium deposits form in a tendon and cause a great deal of inflammation and pain. This condition most commonly occurs in the shoulder joint and restricts the movement of the arm. Peritendinitis Calcarea may present like common tendonitis, but it tends to be more painful and becomes chronic, even when appropriate treatment measures are taken.
Causes of Peritendinitis
Common causes of peritendinitis are over-use, injury, diet, or infection. Most cases involve pain and swelling in the affected area, restricting the range of motion of a joint. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule a consultation with your doctor to rule out any other issues. With a diagnosis of peritendinitis, your doctor may decide to prescribe anti-inflammation drugs or pain-relievers. Treatment should also include ice, rest, and even joint immobilization in severe cases.
Once the initial pain and inflammation have been reduced, your doctor may prescribe you a physical therapy session. The focus will be to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the affected tendon. Strengthening the surrounding and affected muscles will help to stabilize and support the tendon and prevent re-injury in the future. If the inflammation persists after all the above treatments, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections. This may decrease the pain and inflammation of the affected joint.
Related Articles: Golfer’s Elbow and How To Get Rid of Tennis Elbow
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