This is also referred to as a strain or rupture. A tendon is a strong fibrous cord of connective tissue. Your tendons attach muscles to bones. If you tear a tendon, you lose strength and in most cases you lose motion. It becomes extremely painful to use the muscle with any force. A tendon tear can be disabling and often surgery is required.
Tendon Tears Cause Stiffness and Pain
Tendon Injury (tendinopathy, also called “tendinitis” or “tendinosis”) are tears to the tough fibers which connect muscles to bones. They are common near joints at or near knees, elbow, shoulders and ankles. They seem to happen suddenly but they are usually the result of many tiny tears which happen over time.
For example, the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. A tendon injury may seem to happen suddenly, but usually it is the result of many tiny tears to the tendon that have happened in the past. The cause is gradual wear and tear. The problem can simply be from overuse or aging. Tendon tears can happen to anyone, but most often happen in people who do repetitive motions during work or other regular activities.
There can be pain, stiffness or loss of strength. These are worse during the night or when you first awake. The affected area can be red, warm, tender or swollen. You may feel a grinding when you use the tendon.
Serious Tendon Tears Require Immediate Surgery
Once it is torn, a tendon will not heal on its own. It will not grow back to the bone. Strength is lost in the effected muscle. Other muscles may partially compensate and allow you to have some movement. But the overall function will not be restored. Permanent weakness can occur if you do not have surgery to repair the tendon. A torn tendon should be repaired within 2-3 weeks after injury to prevent scarring or shortening of the muscle. Surgical complications are generally temporary and rare. It may take 2-3 months for the tendon to heal completely. Almost all patents have range of motion fully restored.
Some lifestyle factors can increase the probability of tendon tears. Smoking can be as problem since nicotine can affect nutrition in the tendon. Corticosteroid steroids – often used to treat arthritis, asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and other – can weaken muscles or tendons.