Achilles tendonitis

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 or visit to learn more about our services.

Get Back on Track



Foot and Ankle Pain can have a debilitating effect on your daily life!

Many factors can lead to foot and ankle pain.  At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, we treat foot and ankle injuries caused by work, sports-related injuries, fractures, deformities and disease using a variety of surgical and non-surgical methods.

Specialized treatments and surgical procedures –

  • Ankle and foot trauma
  • Tendonitis
  • Ligament sprains and tears
  • Achilles tendon
  • Heel pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bunions, hammer toes, claw toes
  • Ankle and foot arthritis
  • Flat feet deformities

The Foot and Ankle Center at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center brings together a highly qualified and experienced team to treat foot and ankle conditions caused from work and sports related injuries, fractures, deformities, congenital defects and disease.  To schedule an appointment with one of foot specialists please call 540.347.9220 or visit for more information.

It’s March Madness! Prepare Yourself!


Do you play hard?  These injuries are the most common injuries in basketball.

  • Finger Jams – Finger joint pain and swelling from an impact injury which can lead to dislocation, fractures and ligament tears.
  • Hamstring Strains – Excessive stretch or tear of muscle fibers and other related tissues.  Pain can be moderate to extremely heavy in the back of the leg just over the knee.
  • Patella Tendonitis – Also known as jumper’s knee.  This injury is caused from overuse from repetitive overloading of the extensor mechanism of the knee.  Most commonly, pain is felt with an aching feeling in the anterior knee.  May lead to complete tendon tear which requires surgery.
  • Achilles Tendonitis – Inflammation and pain of the large tendon in the back of the ankle caused by overuse.
  • Shin Splints – Commonly found in athletes that run often.  This condition is characterized by pain in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle.
  • Ankle Sprain – A partial or complete tearing of the ligaments in the ankle.

Here are a few tips from to help keep you safe!

  • Maintain you’re fitness.  Be sure you are in good physical condition at the start of basketball season.
  • Make it a part of your routine to warm up and stretch.  Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury.
  • Hydrate.  Even small levels of dehydration can hurt you’re athletic performance.  Drink 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid 2 hours before exercise.
  • Use of proper equipment.  Shoes, ankle supports, knee and elbow pads, mouth guards, and safety glasses are all critical equipment tools to arm yourself with.
  • Ensure a safe environment.  Make sure courts are free of debris that can be hazardous when playing.
  • If you are injured make sure all signs of injury are gone before returning to play.
  • Prevent overuse injuries.  Limit the number of teams you play on in a season.  When playing on more than one team you are at risk for overuse injuries.

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center offers the most comprehensive care under one roof.  Whether you need to be seen for sprains, strains, or other serious sports injuries our team of specialists can help.

We will help you achieve your goals of getting back in the game!

Call us today at (540) 347-9220 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?



A rotator cuff tear is a tear in one or more of the tendons in our rotator cuff muscles.  Rotator cuff tears are the most common conditions that affect the shoulder.  Rotator cuff tears almost always occur in the shoulder that we most often use.

The rotator cuff is a team of muscles and connecting tendons in the shoulder.  It attaches your upper arm to your shoulder blade.  Your rotator cuff helps you reach, throw, push, pull, and lift.
Without it, your shoulder cannot do its job!

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and weakness, Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center can make your shoulder healthy again.  You may only need to start with rest.  If needed, you can have pain-soothing injections.  Your doctor will tell you how often you may need these treatments.  If pain is persistent and still remains after treatment, surgery might be your best option.

Call our shoulder specialists today @ (540) 347-9220.  We can help you get back to healthy living!

Sports Enthusiast? Do you know the Signs of Tendonitis?



Anyone who maintains an active lifestyle, from student athletes to weekend warriors, can benefit from advances in the diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries.

Tendonitis is a common ailment relating to sports injuries.  Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon.  Tendonitis occurs from irritation and constant friction between your tendon and other tissues such as the bone which may cause minor or major tears.  Tendonitis also occurs as a result of overuse of the muscles.  Tendonitis can affect the elbow,  shoulder, hip, knee, thumb , wrist, hamstring, or Achilles tendon.

Symptoms Include:

  • Tenderness
  • Affected area is warm to the touch
  • Pain or swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty moving affected area

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms first stop all activities to protect yourself from further injury and seek medical help.  The Sports Medicine Specialists at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center are experts in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of common injuries that occur during sports or exercise.

Call our sports medicine specialists today @ (540) 347-9220 to schedule an appointment  or for simply  more information.

Our goal: Get you back to good health!