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Peritendinitis is an inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon. It can be associated with tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendon itself. This condition is most commonly seen in overuse injuries, such as those seen in people who train too heavily or athletes who do not receive enough rest. The primary treatment is resting in order to allow the inflamed tissue an opportunity to heal.
The tissue that sheathes the tendon provides protection, reduces friction, and helps the tendons move smoothly. When it comes inflamed, it can become difficult or painful to move the tendon. People with peritendinitis can experience symptoms like pain and stiffness and may have a limited range of motion. The site of the tendon may also feel hot and swollen from the outside, depending on how extensive the inflammation is and the location of the tendon.
A telltale sign of peritendinitis is a crackling sound when the area is moved or palpated. If a patient presents with all of these symptoms, the doctor will assume that an inflammatory process is occurring. The first step is to get the patient resting, with doctors recommending at least a week of rest. Adaptive devices like crutches may be used to keep weight off the healing tendon to avoid restraining the site. Analgesic medications can be used to manage pain, and some patients benefit from cold or hot compresses at the site along with elevation of the involved limb.
If the patient appears to be recovering from peritendinitis, another examination can be conducted to check for signs of tenderness, crackling, or limited range of motion that would suggest that the patient has not made a full recovery. Patients who strain the tendon during healing will prolong their healing time and can develop permanent tendon injuries. In cases where patients have recurrent injuries, options like surgery may be considered to address the problem.
People can reduce the risk of developing peritendinitis by warming up and cooling down after exercise and being sensitive to early signs of overuse. While soreness and tenderness can be a sign that someone simply had a hard workout and stretched the muscles in new ways, extreme pain and extended soreness are signs that inflammation may be occurring. Athletic coaches and personal trainers are usually alert to the signs of overuse injury and they use techniques like mixing exercise methods, practicing yoga, and working in low resistance environments like swimming pools to reduce strain on muscles, tendons, and joints.