Common Causes of Tendinitis

Overview of Common Causes of Tendinitis

Tendons are cord-like structures located where a muscle narrows down to attach to bone. A tendon transmits the pull of the muscle to the bone to create functional movement. Tendinitis refers to inflammation of the tendon, and will often times be tender to the touch.

Common causes of tendinitis and how to avoid it. Image of Common Causes of Tendinitis

Common causes of tendinitis include:                          

  • Shoulder                                                                                     
  • Elbow                                                                                           
  • Wrist                                                                                                   
  • Hip                                                                                                 
  • Knee                                                                                           
  • Ankle 

The initial pain caused by tendinitis may be quite severe and often occurs suddenly. Similar to arthritis, the pain is worse during movement. 

On the contrary, the pain is often in parts of the body far from the joint itself. Tendinitis often results from overuse. Although the problem can recur or become chronic (long-term) in some people, it is often short term, mainly if treated early after initial onset.

Common Causes of Tendinitis

The common causes of tendinitis can occur from an acute (sudden) injury or repetitive motions.  Most often it results from a repeated, minor injury of the tendon. Many activities or jobs that require repetitive motions for extended periods of time can lead to tendinitis. 

Gardening, raking, carpentry, cleaning, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golf, skiing, or throwing are all examples of activities that can lead to functional overuse.

Some individuals may present with controllable risk factors including poor posture or mechanics and obesity. Wearing improper running shoes, or not receiving the proper training for your individual sport, are both common extrinsic risk factors amongst athletes. Desk jobs, such as typing for long periods of time while maintaining improper body positioning may lead to tendinitis over time. 

 Uncontrollable risk factors may include age, bone length discrepancies, arthritis, or infection. Individuals with gout, pseudogout, or blood or kidney diseases often develop bursitis and tendinitis as a part of that disease. 

Older persons are more prone to get tendinitis and bursitis. Rarely, some drugs can cause tendinitis and tendon rupture (spontaneous tear). These medications include fluoroquinolone antibiotics and statins drugs that are used to lower cholesterol.

Prevention of Tendinitis

There are some ways that you can prevent tendinitis. These tips can be applied to all joints:

  • Before exercise, warm up and stretch. 
  • Properly train for a new activity or exercise and slowly increase/progress the intensity of your workout over time. 
  • Engage in exercise, yoga, and sports daily, or near daily rather than just on the weekends. 
  • Learn and maintain proper posture and body mechanics pertaining to your work or hobby with physical therapy. 
  • Make sure that all of your sports equipment is the right size and fit for you, and designed for your individual sport. 
  • Avoid staying in one position for too long. Take rest breaks or change positions every 20-40 minutes.
  •  Stop any activity that causes pain. 
  • Avoid compulsive behavior, like “I’m going to finish this job even if it kills me!”

Ultimately, Tendinitis is an overuse injury that results from repetition over time. Take time to review your everyday habits and see if you can make any positive changes to help keep your body going.

By: Andy Godek, PT/ATC


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