Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon that occurs as a result of aging, overuse or injury. A tendon is the flexible cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. This condition can occur anywhere in the body, but most often occurs in joints such as the shoulder, wrist, heel and elbow. Severe tendonitis can lead to a rupturing of the tendon and may require surgery.
Symptoms of tendonitis usually involve pain, tenderness and swelling in the affected area. This pain is usually worse with movement. Many cases of tendonitis can be treated simply through rest and over-the-counter pain medication. However, you should see your doctor if symptoms interfere with daily activities or if you develop a fever. More severe cases may also benefit from corticosteroid injections, physical therapy or surgery. Untreated tendonitis can lead to chronic symptoms or rupturing of the tendon, so it is important to take proper care when treating this condition.
Tendon Laceration & Rupture
Tendons are strong, fibrous tissues made up primarily of collagen that help connect muscles to bone and allow for movement and overall function of the joints. The tendons in the wrist are highly vulnerable to tendonitis and serious injuries that may cause tendon rupture because of their assistance in rotating, flexing and extending the muscles in the wrist. Tendon ruptures are especially common in athletes who frequently throw or grasp using their wrist muscles. This type of injury may be extremely painful and cause swelling in the joint, significantly reducing function.
Torn tendons can be repaired through surgical treatment. In many cases, the two ends of the tendon are sewn together somewhat tightly with non-absorbent stitches. In some cases, the doctor transfers a tendon or part of a tendon from another part of your body to be used as a replacement for the ruptured one. Typically, the muscle will need to be immobilized for several weeks or months of time, after which rehabilitation and physical therapy become extremely important for full recovery.
Nerve Injury & Paralysis
Tendon transfer is a surgical procedure performed to restore functionality to the hand or other area after a nerve injury or other type of injury or disease that affects muscle function. This procedure aims to shift a healthy tendon in order to restore the lost function and relieve any accompanying symptoms. Tendon transfer is often performed in patients experiencing tendon ruptures from a fracture or rheumatoid arthritis.
During the tendon transfer procedure, one or more of the many muscles within the hand are manipulated so that the origin of the muscle, as well as its nerves and blood supply remain the same, but the tendon attached to it will be changed. This can help effectively restore functionality to the affected tendon, but will trigger a different reaction when the muscle contracts. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.
After surgery, a splint or cast will be needed for a month or two to immobilize the tendon, which is often followed by personalized strengthening exercises that can restore functionality to the affected hand. It is important for patients to follow their doctor's post-operative instructions, as movement too soon after surgery can lead to tendon rupture.
As with any type of surgery, tendon transfer does carry a risk of infection, scarring and abnormal reactions to anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you prior to surgery to ensure the safest and most effective experience.