Tendons are thick fibers that connect your muscles to your bones. When a tendon becomes irritated or inflamed, it is called tendonitis – which causes pain, stiffness, and swelling adjacent to a joint. This condition can occur in any of your joints, but one of the most commonly affected areas is the shoulder.
If you have shoulder tendonitis, you may have trouble raising or lifting your arm. It may even hurt to lie down on the inflamed shoulder. Let’s talk about the causes of shoulder tendonitis, how it is treated, and where you can go for a medical evaluation of your shoulder pain.
Causes of Shoulder Tendonitis
The two main ways in which you can develop shoulder tendonitis is through a sports injury or an overuse injury:
Athletes who play sports that require a lot of repetitive overhead movements are susceptible to shoulder tendonitis. These sports include basketball, golf, swimming, tennis, and weightlifting. Pitcher’s shoulder and swimmer’s shoulder are both types of tendonitis that can be treated by a physical therapist.
A sudden injury, such as falling on an extended arm or receiving a direct hit to the area, can also cause the shoulder tendons to become injured. Likewise, tendonitis can develop when you subject your shoulders to strenuous training. You can overload your tendons, resulting in irritation and inflammation.
Non-athletes are also prone to developing shoulder tendonitis, mostly if you perform overhead movements daily or at your job. Any repetitive motion in one or both shoulders can lead to inflammation and tiny tears in the tendon over time. Occupations that involve constant heavy lifting or assembly-line jobs pose a particular risk of causing shoulder tendonitis.
How Is Shoulder Tendonitis Treated?
After a thorough medical assessment of your shoulder and a diagnosis of shoulder tendonitis, your healthcare provider will discuss your treatment options:
The first aim of treatment is to reduce the swelling and inflammation in your shoulder. Your doctor will tell you how to rest the affected area, and how to move it without causing further harm. You do need to continue moving it gently so that you do not develop frozen shoulder. You may also treat the area with a cold compress.
While your shoulder is healing, your doctor may prescribe oral anti-inflammatory medication and/or topical creams. If these are not enough to ease your pain, your doctor may also recommend and perform corticosteroid injections into your shoulder to provide immediate and long-lasting relief.
Although it is essential to avoid putting too much stress on your shoulder, treatment goals will include preserving your range of motion while also avoiding recurrence of the tendonitis. To ensure these goals are met, your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy. Your therapist will teach you exercises and stretches that will strengthen your shoulders and help you regain your mobility.
If your shoulder tendonitis does not respond to conservative treatments, your doctor may prescribe surgery. However, this is only recommended in severe cases.
Physical Therapists Treating Shoulder Tendonitis in Austin, Texas
Here at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness, our physical therapists are dedicated to helping you get back to playing, working, and performing your daily routine. We will customize your physical therapy program to your needs and at a comfortable pace for you.
Schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding PTs today by calling our friendly staff at (512) 284-7192 or by filling out our easy-to-use online form. We look forward to helping you get past the pain and limitations posed by tendonitis so that you can get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy!