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Tendinopathy

Condition: Tendinopathy is a tendon injury, sometimes referred to as tendinitis. Tendons link muscles to bone.

Background: Tendinopathy is very common, and occurs most often in 30- to 60-year-olds. Most tendinopathy is due to wear and tear on the tendon, either as a natural result of aging, or overuse.

Risk Factors: People who perform repetitive motions either as part of their jobs or while participating in athletics are more at risk for tendinopathy.

History and Symptoms: Tendinopathy often causes pain, inflammation, stiffness and weakness in the affected area.

Physical Exam: A physician will feel the area to check for pain and tenderness. He or she will also check range of motion, such as asking a patient to extend the elbow. Other examinations include observing a patient’s posture and movements, to help understand what may have contributed to the problem.

Diagnostic Process: Special tests can be performed that can reproduce tendon pain. For example, the Cozen test is typically used to check for “tennis elbow.” The doctor gently holds the wrist downward while the patient presses upward against the doctor’s hand. Then, the doctor presses into the outside of the patient’s elbow to see how much pain results.

Rehab Management: There are several ways to help manage pain, such rest, pain medications and icing the area. It is also important to make any changes in the kinds of activities that may have led to the tendinopathy so it does not return or worsen.

Other Resources for Patients and Families: Often tendinopathy is diagnosed after it is causing significant pain. Patients and families should not only identify problem areas that led to the tendinopathy, but learn to recognize early symptoms so it does not reoccur or so new tendinopathy does not develop in other areas. 

 

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