Shoulder Tendonitis

What is it and how is it treated?

Chronic shoulder pain and stiffness may be due to tendonitis, an inflammatory repetitive use injury. 

The shoulder experts at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio, can diagnose and treat this uncomfortable and disruptive injury.

What Is Tendonitis?

Your tendons are the thick bands of connective tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. 

Tendonitis is a painful repetitive use condition that causes micro-tears in the connective tissue, leading to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

Tendinopathy, also called tendinosis, causes similar symptoms. However, it develops as the collagen in your tendon breaks down. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Shoulder Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a repetitive use injury that causes inflammation in your tendons. 

It’s common among athletes, especially swimmers, baseball players, and people who participate in racket sports, such as tennis. 

Repetitive movements such as swimming strokes, pitches, and tennis or golf swings can irritate your shoulder tendons.

What Are the Symptoms of Tendonitis in the Shoulder?

Tendonitis causes progressive symptoms, including:

  • Mild pain during activity and rest
  • Pain that radiates from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm
  • Pain while lifting your arm or reaching for something

When untreated, your symptoms can become more severe and disruptive. 

You may have pain that keeps you up at night and lose strength and range of motion. You may have trouble with activities that require you to reach behind you.

When Should I Talk to a Doctor About Shoulder Pain?

You use your shoulders far more than you might realize, and shoulder pain can significantly interfere with your life. 

If your shoulder problem limits your range of motion, keeps you up at night, or if you have intense swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint, call OrthoNeuro to schedule an appointment.

Many injuries and degenerative conditions can affect your shoulder joint. 

Getting an accurate diagnosis from one of the experts at OrthoNeuro is a critical first step in finding the proper treatment. 

After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your healthcare provider will use extensive physical exams and testing, including X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to identify the root cause of your pain.

Does Shoulder Tendonitis Go Away on Its Own?

Shoulder tendonitis can go away on its own with appropriate self care measures. 

However, it’s unlikely that you will adequately rest your shoulder enough for complete recovery without medical intervention. 

You may be tempted to return to your regular activities too quickly, leading to a rapid return of even more severe pain and shoulder tendinitis symptoms.

What Is the Best Treatment for Shoulder Tendonitis?

There’s no single “best treatment” for shoulder tendonitis. 

Following your diagnosis, your healthcare provider will create a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs, whether you have rotator cuff tendonitis, bicep tendonitis, or both. 

The shoulder specialists often combine therapies, such as:

  • R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • Over the counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injections

Surgery isn’t usually needed to correct tendonitis unless your pain is severe and doesn’t respond to less invasive therapies. However, when untreated, the condition can lead to more severe shoulder damage.

What Are the Possible Complications of Shoulder Tendonitis?

Inflamed tendons often swell, leading to shoulder impingement. 

You may lose strength, flexibility, and the ability to lift objects, which can limit your regular daily activities and independence. 

The condition can also increase your risk of rotator cuff tears.

What Are the Surgical Treatment Options?

If you need surgery, the shoulder specialists at OrthoNeuro offer both minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures and traditional open surgeries. 

During arthroscopy, your orthopedic surgeon will make a couple of small incisions in your shoulder and use special surgical instruments to repair your shoulder.

An arthroscope is a thin surgical tool with a camera and a light on its tip. The device transmits video from inside your shoulder joint to a monitor in the treatment room, allowing your surgeon to see inside your shoulder without having to make a large incision.

How Can I Prevent Shoulder Tendonitis?

The best way to prevent tendonitis is to modify or avoid the activities that cause the problem. 

This could involve taking rest days, limiting force and cross-training for athletes, and working with a physical therapist or sports medicine expert to adjust any postural or technique problems.

It’s important to gradually increase activity intensity and duration and stop if unusual pain develops.

If you have severe or chronic shoulder pain that limits your movement, call OrthoNeuro today or make an appointment online for expert diagnosis and customized treatments.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today! 

  • If you have been experiencing tendonitis in the shoulder, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 
  • We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.
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Meet Our Shoulder Specialists

Scott P. Stephens, MD

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

B. Rodney Comisar, MD, FAAOS

Orthopedic Surgeon

Benjamin W. Szerlip, DO

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

Michael B. Cannone, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Timothy P. Duffey, DO

Orthopedist

Jeremy R. Mathis, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Keith A. LaDu, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

J. Mark Hatheway, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon

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Call: (614) 890-6555