In order to understand tendonitis, you must know what a tendon is and what role it plays in the body.
When a muscle contracts, it pulls on a bone to cause movement. The structure that transmits the force of the muscle contraction to the bone is called a tendon. A tendon is a tough, yet flexible, band of fibrous tissue that provides structure by connecting your muscles to the bones. The tendon is very important in helping the skeletal muscles move your bones, thus enabling you to walk, jump, lift, and move in many ways.
Tendons come in many shapes and sizes. Some are very small, like the ones that cause movements of your fingers, and some are much larger, such as your Achilles tendon in your heel. When functioning normally, these tendons glide easily and smoothly as the muscle contracts.
However, if the tendons become inflamed for a variety of reasons, the action of pulling the muscle becomes very irritating. Thus, if the normal smooth gliding motion of your tendon is impaired, the tendon will become inflamed and movement will become painful. This condition is called tendonitis, which literally means inflammation of the tendon.
Causes of Tendonitis
There are hundreds of tendons scattered throughout our body, but it tends to be a small handful of specific tendons that cause problems. These tendons usually have an area of poor blood supply that leads to tissue damage and poor healing response. The area of a tendon that is prone to injury is called a “watershed zone,” an area where the blood supply to the tendon is the weakest. In these watershed zones, the body has a hard time delivering oxygen and nutrients necessary for tendon healing. This is why we see common tendon problems in the same parts of the body.
If you believe you may be suffering from tendonitis or other issues, please contact our office to discuss your treatment options.