A tendon is the strong, cord-like fibrous tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. These tissues enable us to move our bones and muscles as we wish.
Pain can develop in our tendons due to an inflammation either around or in the tendon itself. Causes of tendon pain may include injury, aging, or disease, and it can occur in various parts of the body – especially the shoulders, elbows, hands, and feet. Fortunately, most cases of tendon pain can be treated nonsurgically by resting the area and other self-care techniques.
Even though our tendons are usually flexible and robust, they are still prone to injury and overuse, especially in repetitive movements. The risk of injury increases with improper form, which can lead to an irritated or overstretched tendon.
What Causes Tendon Pain?
Tendon pain is common in those who participate in sports, such as tennis, bowling, golf, and swimming, as these sports require the same movement over and over. Tendon injury can also occur in work settings due to prolonged stress on the tendon. Furthermore, certain diseases or structural abnormalities, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, are known to cause tendon pain.
Let’s talk about some of the main types of tendon pain and the potential underlying causes for each:
When a tendon is inflamed, this is called tendonitis. There can be swelling, pain, and discomfort in the joint.
This condition can happen to any tendon in the body, from elbows and wrists to feet and ankles. A common form of this type of tendon pain is Achilles tendonitis, which is an injury that is frequently seen in runners – affecting the tendon connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles.
Although tendonitis and tendinopathy have the same symptoms, tendinopathy refers to the breakdown of collagen in a tendon due to overuse. This condition causes burning pain and sensation while reducing the patient’s flexibility and range of motion in the affected foot. Tendinopathy is more common in the heels, shoulders, knees, and hamstrings.
There is a protective sheath that covers the tendons which is known as the synovium. This protective sheath produces synovial fluid, which lubricates the tendon for smooth movement.
However, an injury to the tendon may result in the sheath’s malfunction, wherein the sheath may fail to make enough synovial fluid. This results in inflammation or swelling of the sheath itself. This condition is called tenosynovitis, otherwise known as tendon sheath inflammation.
Complete Foot and Ankle Care in Cincinnati
If you are experiencing pain in your feet and/or ankles, contact our experienced podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. Our skilled doctors can diagnose your foot condition and prescribe a personalized treatment plan for you.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists, contact us today by calling us at the location nearest you or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you and helping you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.