Tendinosis are the tough, fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. Healthy tendons are made of straight, parallel fibers of collagen.

Tendinosis occurs when tendons degenerate, meaning that they begin to break down. Tendons may have small tears or disorganized collagen fibers instead of straight collagen fibers.

This condition is most common in the elbow pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain, and Achilles heel tendons.

Tendinosis may be linked to other underlying conditions, such as tennis elbow and swimmers shoulder.

Symptoms

Tendinosis refers to hardening, thickening, and scarring of the tendons. This causes pain and a loss of flexibility in the joint.

Common symptoms of tendinosis are:

  • localized burning pain and swelling around the tendon
  • pain that gets worse during and after activity
  • stiffness in the joint
  • restricted joint movement
  • pain that persists for several months

Causes

Tendinosis is usually caused by an overuse of the tendon. It can also be caused by physical trauma, such as a fall or sports injury.

Hobbies or professions that require putting repeated stress on the tendons can cause tendinosis. Athletes and manual laborers, for example, are more prone to this disorder.

Tendon problems are more common in older adults because the joints become less flexible as a person ages. People with joint conditions such as arthritis may also be more prone to tendinosis.

Treatment

Tendons usually take a long time to heal, so the treatments for tendinosis aim to speed up the bodys natural healing processes.

Doctors often recommend the following at-home treatments:

  • Resting the tendon and avoiding repetitive movements. This may include taking a break every 15 minutes when doing repetitive activities, such as typing.
  • Stretching the tendon to increase its range of movement and flexibility and to promote circulation.
  • Massaging the affected area to promote circulation.
  • Strengthening the muscles around the tendon with exercises to reduce daily strain on the injured tendon.
  • Using braces or tape to protect the tendon from further injury.

A doctor may also recommend the following treatments:

  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (EWST), which involves applying pressure waves to the surface of the skin. This may promote the regeneration of tissue and speed up the healing process. EWST has been shown to be effective for some lower limb conditions.
  • Surgery can remove damaged tissue to relieve pain and allow the tendon to heal.
  • Corticosteroid injections around the tendon can reduce short-term pain and swelling. However, they may also make relapse more likely and can sometimes impair collagen production.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, involve injecting plasma from the persons blood into areas around the tendon. The platelets promote cell repair and healing.

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