Monthly Archives: March 2014

What is a tendon injury?



Tendons are the tough fibers that connect muscle to 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 over time.

Doctors may use different terms to describe a tendon injury. You may hear:

  • Tendinitis. This actually means “inflammation of the tendon,” but inflammation is rarely the cause of tendon pain.
  • Tendinosis. This refers to tiny tears in the tissue in and around the tendon caused by overuse.

Most experts now use the term tendinopathy to include both inflammation and microtears. But many doctors may still use the term tendinitis to describe a tendon injury.

What causes a tendon injury?

Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or aging. Anyone can have a tendon injury. But people who make the same motions over and over in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.

A tendon injury can happen suddenly or little by little. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened over time.

What are the symptoms?

Tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area.

  • The pain may get worse when you use the tendon.
  • You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
  • The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation.
  • You may notice a crunchy sound or feeling when you use the tendon.

The symptoms of a tendon injury can be a lot like those caused by bursitis.

How is a tendon injury diagnosed?

To diagnose a tendon injury, a doctor will ask questions about your past health and your symptoms and will do a physical exam. If the injury is related to your use of a tool or sports equipment, the doctor may ask you to show how you use it.

If your symptoms are severe or do not improve with treatment, your doctor may want you to have a test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI.

How is it treated?

In most cases, you can treat a tendon injury at home. To get the best results, start these steps right away:

  • Rest the painful area, and avoid any activity that makes the pain worse.
  • Apply ice or cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as 2 times an hour, for the first 72 hours. Keep using ice as long as it helps.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) if you need them.
  • Do gentle range-of-motion exercises and stretching to prevent stiffness.

As soon as you are better, you can return to your activity, but take it easy for a while. Don’t start at the same level as before your injury. Build back to your previous level slowly, and stop if it hurts. Warm up before you exercise, and do some gentle stretching afterward. After the activity, apply ice to prevent pain and swelling.

If these steps don’t help, your doctor may suggest physical therapy. If the injury is severe or long-lasting, your doctor may have you use a splint, brace, or cast to hold the tendon still.

It may take weeks or months for a tendon injury to heal. Be patient, and stay with your treatment. If you start using the injured tendon too soon, it can lead to more damage.

To keep from hurting your tendon again, you may need to make some long-term changes to your activities.

  • Try changing your activities or how you do them. For example, if running caused the injury, try swimming some days. If the way you use a tool is the problem, try switching hands or changing your grip.
  • If exercise caused the problem, take lessons or ask a trainer or pro to check your technique.
  • If your job caused the tendon injury, ask your human resource department if there are other ways to do your job.
  • Always take time to warm up before and stretch after you exercise.

Whether injury or wear-and-tear, you require the best care available.  At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center our physical therapists, physicians, and surgeons have the specialized training, expertise and experience you need to treat your condition, both surgically and non-surgically.  If you would like to schedule an appointment please call 540.347.9220 (Warrenton office) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville office) and be sure to visit to learn more about all of the comprehensive services offered by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

Herniated Disc



A herniated disc in most cases is the culprit that causes lower back pain and is often referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons sixty to eighty percent of people will have back pain at some point in their life and a high percentage of lower back/leg pain is caused by a herniated disc.


  • Aging/Wear and tear
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – Consistent exercise is critical as it helps to prevent several medical conditions from developing.
  • Gender – Men between 30 and 50 are more susceptible to herniated discs.
  • Repetitive actions – Constant lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting can cause a herniated disc.  It’s important to use safe lifting and movement techniques to protect your back.
  • Weight – When a body is overweight it causes extra stress on the discs in the lower back.
  • Smoking – Smoking is believed to lessen oxygen supply to the disc and causes more rapid degeneration.


  • Back Pain
  • Deep Muscle Pain
  • Spasms
  • Tingling or numbness in the leg or foot
  • Weakness in the legs and loss of bladder or bowel control (extremely rare) might indicate a more serious problem known as cauda equine syndrome, which develops when spinal nerve roots are being compressed.  Immediate medical attention is required.


There are several non-surgical solutions available to improve symptoms of a herniated disc.

  • Rest – If you are experiencing severe back pain, 1-2 days of rest will calm the pain.  Don’t stay off your feet any longer than your initial rest period.  Take several breaks throughout the day and avoid sitting for long periods of time.  Use controlled and slow movements and change your daily activities to avoid further pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications – Ibuprofen or naproxen may temporarily relieve back pain.
  • Physical Therapy – Trained specialists with experience in specific exercises can strengthen your muscles.
  • Epidural steroid injection – Steroids are injected into your back to minimize inflammation.

Whether you suffer from wear-and-tear or a spinal injury, Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center offers the best care available for a wide variety of spine/neck related ailments.   Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center’s physicians have extensive experience treating nearly every kind of condition, including spinal trauma of the neck and back, tumors and infections, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and adult degenerative conditions of the next and back.

To schedule an appointment with our spine specialists please call 540.347.9220 (Warrenton office) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville office) and don’t forget to visit us @ for all comprehensive services offered by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

Customized Orthotics



Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center uses our very own in-house orthotics lab to assess gait and foot mechanics to determine the best product for your condition.  We’re one of the few providers in the region offering both customized and over-the-counter orthotics. Physical Therapist, Jennifer Wilkins, has over 17 years of experience treating foot and ankle conditions and has completed Phases I and II of When the Foot Hits the Ground continuing education courses.

Orthotic Bracing

Whether recovering from surgery, preventing a sports injury, or just seeking more support, our physical therapists can help. The right brace with the right fit is critical in preventing further injury. We specialize in bracing of the spine, knee, ankle, elbow, wrist, and hand. Our Spine Brace System allows core muscles to work while supporting and protecting the spine, decreasing painful symptoms. With less pain, you feel better and can do more. We also provide knee braces designed for orthopaedic conditions such as ligament insufficiency, patella maltracking, or unloading an arthritic joint.  Call our physical therapy and rehabilitation department today to learn more about our custom orthotic bracing program @ 540.347.2918 or visit our website @

Tennis Elbow



This article from Krames Staywell  explains exactly what tennis elbow is and how it can affect your children.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is an injury of the elbow caused by repetitive stress and occurs when the muscles and tendons in the elbow area become torn or injured and is known as lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondylalgia.  The name “tennis elbow” has a unique link to racquet sports but can also be caused by other activities such as climbing, swimming, manual workers, playing instruments and everyday life activities requiring repetitive movement.  The chance of tennis elbow increases as your child ages and players harder or more competitive games.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

  • Pain with wrist movement
  • Pain at night
  • Pain over the outside of the elbow
  • Soreness in forearm


  • Rest
  • Application of Ice packs
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Elbow brace
  • Nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen

Prevention Tips

  • Always perform warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after any activity that includes stretching the muscles in the arm.
  • Use the correct equipment.  Racquet handles and heads that are too large or too small, strings that are too tight or too loose can put additional stress on the elbow.
  • Use correct techniques and movements while playing.
  • Maintain overall good physical shape.
  • Listen to your body!  If you are a beginner start slow.  Even if you are an experienced athlete your body will tell you when it’s time to stop.

If you feel you or your child might be suffering with tennis elbow, or any joint problems, Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center can help.  Whether you require physical therapy, pain management, or diagnosis and treatment from any of our expert specialists, we provide the patient care you deserve.

Our GOAL-get YOU back to GOOD HEALTH!  Call us today @ 540.347.9220 (Warrenton office) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville office) to speak with a specialist or visit us @ for more information on the comprehensive services offered by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

Please Join Us!

WARF020113 007Compress


Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center is celebrating Spring with the Warrenton Aquatic & Recreation Facility (WARF) Spring Open House Event, Saturday, March 22nd from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The Staff at the WARF invite you to bring your friends and family to see the WARF in action!  Tour the facility, enjoy free Express Classes, free Swim Time, refreshments, and participate in fun activities and learn about their numerous programs!  Visit Spring Open House for a complete list of fun activities!  Enter to win prizes!  Raffle giveaway every 30 minutes!

Stop by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center’s booth for free giveaways and a free blood pressure reading courtesy of Acti-Kare, and register to win a $50 gift card!  Hope to see you there!