Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis
Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation in a tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bones.Tendinitis is a common cause of shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle pain. It usually results from overuse or abnormal use of a tendon or muscle. It is diagnosed by obtaining a medical history and performing a physical examination of the painful area. X-rays and blood tests are seldom helpful in making the diagnosis.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Tendinitis causes pain and occasionally swelling around the painful area. In more severe cases it may restrict movement of the joint. The pain is worse with activities and improves with resting the painful area. Tendinitis, depending on its location, may make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as dressing, grooming, reaching, lifting, writing, or walking. Most often, tendinitis is easily treated and gets better with time.

Treatment of tendinitis includes rest, ice, heat, strengthening and stretching exercises, splints, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), ultrasound treatment, or “cortisone” injections. Occasionally, a therapist will provide exercises and/or splints to strengthen muscles and reduce strain on certain tendons. Potential side effects of NSAIDs include stomach upset, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, difficulty hearing, and rash. Cortisone injections usually work quickly but require injecting a needle through the skin. Rarely, they can cause irritation under the skin or infection. The other treatments uncommonly cause side effects.

The DOs
• Follow your doctors treatment instructions.
• Rest the painful area as recommended by your doctor.
• Ask your doctor which over-the-counter medications you may take with your prescription medications.
The DON’Ts
• Don't wait to see whether a side effect from your medication or injection goes away.
• Don't continue an exercise program that causes excessive or prolonged pain. If this occurs, the program needs to be modified specifically for you.

When to Call Your Doctor
• You experience any medication side effects.
• The medication or treatments are not decreasing the pain.
• You believe you may need a referral to an occupational therapist or a physical therapist.
• You have worsening warmth or redness of the skin after a cortisone injection.