Tendonitis is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of a tendon due to irritation. This painful condition most commonly occurs at the site where the tendon attaches to the bone. It may also occur along the length of the tendon, near the area where the muscle and tendon join together.
The tendons are band-like structures of fibrous tissue that attach the muscle to bone. There are many tendons housed within the human body. These can vary in size, from large sized tendons found surrounding the knee joint to the smaller sized tendons found in the fingers. But, when these bands of tissue become irritated, they can swell and become inflamed. Shoulder tendonitis, or rotator cuff tendonitis is among one of the most common sites for damage or injury of the tendon.
Overuse of the shoulder tendons during work-related activities or sports is the most frequent cause of tendonitis. Repetitive and constant overhand motions, lifting heavy objects, or direct injury to the shoulder from a blow or fall to the tendon can result in tendonitis. Aging is also known to make people more prone to developing the condition. As people age, the tendons tend to lose elasticity and fluid content, making them more susceptible to irritation, inflammation, and swelling. Lastly, other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, may cause changes that could develop into tendonitis.
Shoulder tendonitis symptoms most commonly include shoulder pain with increased tissue temperature, swelling, and redness. The pain associated with shoulder tendonitis can start as a dull ache and sharpen as a person moves the shoulder, most notably when raising the arm overhead. Inflammation then causes swelling and tenderness on the shoulder. If left untreated, more severe symptoms of stiffness and restricted range of motion could occur.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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