DESCRIPTIONTendinitis is painful inflammation of a tendon. Tendon fibers merge into muscle fibers. A typical skeletal muscle has a tendon on each end that attaches to bone. The force of a muscle contraction is transmitted through the tendon to produce movement. Tendons, bones, and joints are involved. Tendinitis can affect children but is more common in adolescents and adults.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care for mild cases.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications, it self-care is not successful.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSRestricted movement, tenderness and swelling around your child's inflamed tendon. Common sites are the shoulder, elbow, Achilles' tendon, or hamstring muscle.
Weakness in the tendon caused by calcium deposits that often accompany tendinitis.
CAUSESInjury, usually from strenuous athletic activity.
Musculo-skeletal disorders, including congenital defects and rheumatism.
RISK FACTORSOveruse of certain tendons and joints from participation in active, competitive sports.
Incorrect movement and strain during activity. For example, repeatedly holding and swinging a tennis racket incorrectly may cause tendinitis at the elbow (tennis elbow).
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Precondition your body and build up strength gradually for a sport before beginning it on a regular, competitive basis.
Warm up before each workout.
Learn the proper techniques for any sport you intend to play regularly.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
X-rays of the involved area.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSLarge deposits of calcium in the inflamed tendon, leading to permanent impairment ("frozen joint").
Usually curable with treatment and rest of the tendon. Allow 6 weeks for your child to heal.
HOME CARETreatment varies with the cause, severity and duration of the condition. Your child should do the following:
With severe pain, stiffness, and tenderness, relax completely with the injured area resting in a splint or on a pillow until the pain becomes more bearable.
Apply ice packs to the affected area during the acute stage or after receiving injections.
When pain diminishes, wear a sling or use crutches until pain becomes bearable.
After the acute phase, apply heat. Take hot showers, apply hot compresses, use a heat lamp or heating pad, or rub in deep-heating ointment.
If you have a shoulder injury, perform shoulder exercises that your doctor or physical therapist will give you. If done conscientiously, these exercises help prevent stiffness and increase strength.
Injections of local anesthetics.
Injections of cortisone into painful and calcified tendons. This reduces the child's pain and inflammation and allows movement, preventing a frozen joint.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of tendinitis.
Pain and swelling increases, despite treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.