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Inflammation Of A Tendon

A common condition behind many overuse injuries is tendinitis, the inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is a cord or band of dense, rough, inelastic, white, fibrous tissue, serving to connect a muscle with a bone or part. It is also known as sinew. Another condition caused by overuse is called bursitis, the inflammation of a bursa, the pouch or sac that facilitates motion, as between a tendon and a bone.

Equipment and technique are important in the prevention of tendinitis, as are stretching and strengthening routines. A vigorous schedule of physical conditioning before getting into a regular sports program and warming up adequately before practice or competition will help eliminate the onset of tendinitis. For prevention of bursitis, wear warm clothing in cold weather, use protective gear for contact sports, and add additional protection to the affected area until healing is complete.

It is also important to learn the proper moves and techniques for your sport. For example, an improperly executed backhand is often the cause of tennis elbow. And if tendinitis or bursitis are diagnosed, prolonged healing time may be required or further complications may arise, if activity is resumed too soon. Achilles Tendon injuries rank among the most common overuse injuries in athletes, and are among the most difficult to treat.

Because these injuries can range from tendinitis to severe ruptures, it is important to recognize their signs and symptoms early for proper diagnosis and treatment. The signs and symptoms of Achilles Tendon tendinitis include inflammation of the vascular sheath surrounding the tendon, accompanied by pain described as a mild burning or prickly heat sensation about 1-3 inches in the Achilles tendon above the heel bone.

At this stage, treatment includes stretching, ice treatment after running, avoiding hilly courses, avoiding irritating shoes, and use of aspirin. If symptoms do not resolve after two weeks, professional care is recommended. If the signs and symptoms grow beyond the acute stage described above, seek medical advice. The problem may be considered subacute, requiring 2-6 weeks to heal, or chronic, requiring greater than 6 weeks' duration, both under a doctor's care.

Tennis elbow, elbow tendinitis, is the inflammation of the muscles, tendons, bursa or covering to the bones at the elbow. Signs and symptoms include pain and tenderness which worsens with gripping or rotating the forearm; a weak grip; and pain when twisting the hand and arm, as when using a screwdriver, pushing off when skiing, playing tennis, bowling, golfing, or throwing a ball with a twist.

A doctor's diagnosis and treatment are necessary, and physical therapy may be required. Tennis elbow usually heals with heat treatments, corticosteroid injections and rest of the elbow, all of which may require 3-6 months. It may also be necessary to wear a forearm splint to immobilize the elbow for a time. Elbow bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa sac at the elbow joint, the radio-humeral bursa.

It may vary in degree from a mild irritation to an abscess formation that causes excruciating pain. Signs and symptoms include pain at the elbow, tenderness, swelling, fever if infection is present, and limited elbow movement. A doctor's diagnosis and treatment are required; use of a sling to support the elbow joint may be needed. Sometimes surgery may be necessary for a frozen elbow or a severely infected joint that drains to the outside. Symptoms usually subside in 3-4 weeks with treatment.

If a serious infection is present and surgery is needed, allow 6-8 weeks for healing. Shoulder tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon or lining of a tendon sheath in the shoulder. Signs and symptoms include constant pain or pain with motion of the shoulder; limited motion of the shoulder; redness and tenderness over the injured tendon; and a "crackling" sound when the tendon moves or is touched.

A doctor's diagnosis and treatment are necessary; use of a sling to rest the shoulder may be needed. Sometimes surgery is required to enlarge the tunnel of the tendon covering to restore a smooth gliding motion. Shoulder tendinitis is usually curable in about 6 weeks with heat treatments, corticosteroid injections and rest of the inflamed area.

Irreparable Harm - Some Injuries You Can't Bounce Back From

Your body has amazing recuperative powers - unless one of these happens to you.

Sun Blindness

Idiots who look at the sun are doomed to eternal dark fuzziness, "When you stare directly at the sun, its energy is concentrated into one small area of the retina," says Kerry Beebe, O.D., chair of the clinical group for the American Optometric Association. It can destroy part of the retina, "and it's not going to regenerate itself. You may be able to see large objects, but you won't be able to see newspaper-size print"

Lost Limbs

Lose a limb now and you're SOL. But early on - we're talking when you were still floating around in the friendly confines of the womb-your body was remarkably plastic. "If a fetus is injured at all, it can heal wounds without scars," says regenesis researcher Alan Russell, Ph.D., director of the  McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh. Children and even some adults have been able to regrow lost fingertips (though you'll be relieved to know no systematic finger-lopping study has yet been undertaken).

Punctured Eardrum

Lose more than a third of the eardrum's surface and it can't seal, says Steven D. Rauch, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Harvard medical school. "The skin edges can't migrate across the empty space as they heal:' Even if you're still able to hear, the eardrum performs "like a broken drumhead," distorting the sound, says Dr Rauch. And your ear will also no longer be waterproof, which means you'll have to wear a special, form-fitting earplug when you swim or shower.

Severed Spinal Cord

Here's one cord you don't want to cut. First comes inflammation, which can swell the cord, causing even more connections to be interrupted. Then scar tissue messes up any attempt to glue the millions of nerve endings back together. Stem-cell therapies show promise in regrowing nerve and support cells, but matching up severed connections end-to-end is, for now, next to impossible. "Once you sever the connections, you'll never completely establish them again," says M. Shahriar Salamat,M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin.


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