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As tough bands that connect muscle to bone, tendons are connective tissues that provide flexibility and mobility to the body. They also protect and support organs and other tissues. Though they are designed to withstand heavy force under the weight of muscle contraction, tendons are prone to overuse and injury from sports or other activities.

Consider the following types of tendon injuries:

  • Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon
  • Tendinopathy – deterioration of a tendon
  • Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the protective layer surrounding a tendon
  • Tendon rupture – tear of a tendon

Tendon injuries may occur at the hands, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, fingers or the back of the heel (Achilles tendon). Depending on the type of tendon injury, individuals may experience a dull aching pain, weakness, stiffness or a sensation that the tendon is “crackling.”

If you are experiencing pain from a tendon injury, you are aware of it because a system of nerves have carried the message to your brain about the pain that you feel. As a complex bundle of fibers, nerves play a number of roles from transmitting signals about sensation to sending messages about motor signals and when to move. As with tendon injuries, nerves are susceptible to damage by too much pressure, stretching or by a cut. Nerve injuries may result in mild, temporary pain or severe pain and permanent injury.

There is a structure-function relationship between tendons and nerves. There’s no doubt that injuries impair one’s ability to complete everyday activities including bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, using the bathroom and doing chores.

Treatment and Rehabilitation for Tendon and Nerve Injuries

When tendons or nerves in the upper extremities have become injured, irritated or torn, individuals may experience a number of conditions. They may include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, bicep rupture or rotator cuff tears. The right combination of treatment and rehabilitation is important with pain, changes in sensation and impaired mobility.

By considering multiple systems and the body as a whole, physiatrists are well positioned to generate an individualized treatment protocol that will reduce pain and maximize functioning. Through conservative and non-operative care, physiatrists often consult other medical professionals including clinicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other interventionists to set in motion a comprehensive treatment regimen to empower patients.

Tried and true treatments such as ice and heat packs, rest and steroid injections may be incorporated to address pain and inflammation. As rehabilitation continues, physiatrists apply diagnostic information provided by previous treatments to assign additional techniques such as strength building physical therapy exercises, stretching or electrical stimulation. In turn, patients may wear a brace during periods of inactivity or rest and take anti-inflammatory medication to ensure that swelling is kept to a minimum.

At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.

To schedule your appointment, contact us today.

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