5 Things You Need To Know About Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis, also called rotator cuff tendonitis, is the inflammation of the tendons in your shoulder. Your tendons are cords that connect your muscles to your bones. Here's what you need to know about this common, yet painful injury.

Why do the tendons become inflamed?

Your tendons can become inflamed if you do a repetitive athletic activity that you're not used to, like spending the whole weekend raking leaves or a morning shoveling snow. It can also happen when you start a new workout routine that is too vigorous for your current fitness level. People who don't do any exercise during the work week and then exercise vigorously on the weekends are also at risk of hurting their tendons. 

How do you know you have it?

A common symptom is pain and swelling in the shoulder area. This pain will be worse when you lift or lower your arm than when it is at rest. If the condition isn't treated, the pain will get worse until you feel pain when you're at rest, and even when you're lying in bed at night. Your arm may feel weak, and and you may have trouble doing everyday activities like buttoning your shirts.

How common is it?

Shoulder tendonitis is a very common problem. Studies have shown that between 16% and 34% of the population has shoulder pain, and many of them are suffering from shoulder tendonitis. 

Is surgery required?

Surgery is a last resort treatment for shoulder tendonitis, but it may be required for you. During this surgery, an orthopedic surgeon will remove portions of the bone on top of your shoulder or other nearby tissues. This will create more space inside your shoulder and take pressure off of your swollen tendon. The incision required for this surgery is small but it will still take you between 2 and 4 months for the pain in your shoulder to go away. 

What can you do to feel better?

Resting your shoulder is very important. If you keep doing the activities that causes the injury, the tendons won't be able to heal. If rest doesn't help, your doctor can prescribe medications that will help you feel better. Painkillers and steroids are often used for shoulder injuries. 

Shoulder tendonitis is a common problem, but that doesn't mean that you should try to work through the pain. If your shoulder hurts after being active, you need to rest your shoulder and see your doctor.