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Tendinitis is the painful inflammation of a tendon and its ligaments which attach it to the bone. It often results from the stress of repetitive movements. Acute tendinitis may become chronic if it is not treated. The areas most commonly affected by tendinitis are the shoulder (rotator cuff tendinitis or impingement syndrome) elbow (tennis elbow or golfer's elbow) wrist and thumb (de Quervain's disease) knee (jumper's knee) and ankle (Achilles tendinitis). Calcific tendinitis which occurs when calcium deposits build up in a joint often appears in people with a chronic disease such as diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms
What Causes It?
Although the exact cause of tendinitis is unknown it can result from overuse undertraining or poor technique in sports repetitive movement in certain occupations falling lifting or carrying heavy objects and extreme or repeated trauma. It may also be seen with certain inflammatory conditions (for example Reiter's syndrome ankylosing spondylitis) autoimmune disorders (for example diabetes mellitus) and some infections.
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your health care provider will give you a thorough physical examination. X-rays may be taken and other diagnostic tests may be performed.
Your provider may prescribe pain relievers or steroid injections. Treatment also may include ice rest or temporary immobilization. Massage strengthening exercises or physical therapy help improve tendon use. Ultrasound and use of electricity help to control pain. Surgery is used only for severe tendinitis that is not healing from other treatments.
Over the Counter
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules powders teas) glycerites (glycerine extracts) or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day.
Homeopathic remedies for tendinitis include creams or gels. Arnica cream by itself or in combination with Calendula officinalis Hamamelis virgineana Aconitum napellus and Belladonna applied three to six times a day speeds healing and decreases discomfort. For acute injuries always start with Arnica.
Internally the dose is usually 12X to 30C every one to four hours until the symptoms get better.
Tendinitis often has three stages: Stage 1 is characterized by a dull ache following activity which improves with rest; stage 2 by pain with minor movements (for example dressing); and stage 3 by constant pain.
Recurrences are common particularly for athletes and people whose work requires repetitive motions.
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