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Tendinitis vs. Arthritis: Which Do I Have?

When experiencing joint pain, you may immediately assume that you are suffering from a form of arthritis. While this may be the case, it is important to remember that joints are complex structures. They consist of cartilage, tendons, bones, muscles, nerves, and ligaments. One or all of these structural components could be the source of your pain.

With that in mind, most forms of joint pain result from one or two conditions: arthritis and tendinitis. Below, we offer insights into these two distinct but similar joint-related conditions.

Common Signs of Arthritis

Arthritis results from deterioration of the cartilage between two bones. Cartilage acts as your body’s shock absorber and protects the ends of these two adjoined bones. Without this cushion, the bones grind against one another, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.

While there are dozens of types of arthritis, the two most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This chronic condition occurs when your body attacks its own tissues, including cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is also a chronic condition, but it is generally age-related. It is caused by normal wear-and-tear that occurs with the repetitive use of joints. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints in the spine, hips, knees, and hands.

Potential Indicators of Tendinitis

As the name suggests, tendinitis is a condition affecting the connective joint tissues known as tendons. Tendinitis occurs when these tissues become inflamed and irritated. Tendinitis can occur with aging or disease but can also come from injury or overuse.

Tendinitis commonly impacts the joints of the knee, heel, shoulder, and elbow. These joints get strained the most when participating in sports or other forms of exercise. For instance, tendinitis in the elbow is commonly referred to as Tennis Elbow because the injury is especially common in tennis players.

How Is Joint Pain Treated

Before doctors can treat your joint pain appropriately, it must first be diagnosed. If you are suffering from tendonitis, the medical professional may recommend rest from your normal exercise routine. They may also prescribe ice and anti-inflammatory medications to treat swelling. A similar approach is often used to treat mild cases of arthritis.

However, more severe cases of arthritis may require other treatment options. Traditionally, this could include powerful prescription medications or surgical intervention.

Recently, stem cell therapy has been implemented to treat severe sports injuries and chronic arthritis. Stem cells have the potential to improve symptoms, reduce pain, and allow you to avoid the need for invasive surgeries.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for osteoarthritis, also known as stem cell therapy for Osteoarthritis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.

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