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Tendonitis and Tendinopathy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tendonitis (or tendinitis) is inflammation of the tendons, the tissue that connects bones to muscles. Tendinopathy, also known as tendinosis, predisposes to the degradation of collagen proteins in the tendon. This results in burning pain along with reduced flexibility and range of motion.

Difference Between Tendinopathy and Tendonitis

Usually, the terms tendinopathy and tendonitis are used alternatively.  Although both conditions have practically similar symptoms, they are different diseases.

Tendinopathy is commonly found in the following:

Achilles – heels

rotator cuff – shoulder 

patellar – knees 

hamstring – upper legs 

While most people think they understand tendonitis better, tendonitis is actually more prevalent.

It is not diagnosed as often as tendonitis.


Tendinitis is often caused by overuse, repetitive strain, minor injury, or a sudden forceful impact on tendon tissues.

On the other hand, lack of muscle tone, and wear and tear, may play a role in the development of tendinopathy.

People who perform similar movements are more likely to develop a tendon injury, such as:

Gardening, carpentry, cleaning, shoveling, painting, tennis, golf, or scrubbing.

In addition, if the tendon has already ruptured, you will tear it down by effect.

Improper posture at the workplace or lack of warm-up before heavy workouts or sports also increases a person’s risk. There are other risk factors:

  • An abnormally located bone or joint
  • Stress from medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, or thyroid disorders.
  • Excessive use or putting too much stress on a muscle that is not used.
  • When you play or exercise inconsistent, such as only on weekends.
  • Infection from dog or cat bites can also cause tendonitis.

Also Read: Management Of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries

Who Is At Risk Of Tendon Injuries?

Even though anyone can get tendonitis, yet it is more likely to occur in adults, or in older players over the age of forty. With age, they become less tolerant of strain and are more likely to tear or become inflamed.

In Which Area Of ​​The Body Are You Most Likely To Have Tendonitis Or Tendinopathy?

Tendinitis and tendinopathy can occur in any area where there are tendons, joining the bones to the muscles. However, the most common areas are the thumb, elbow, shoulder, knee, hip, or base of the Achilles—the largest tendon.

Common Symptoms

As we have said before, the symptoms are the same, such as:

  • Pain in the injured and surrounding area. It can be sudden or slow and swell over time. It may become slow or sudden and severe, especially if calcium is accumulated. 
  • Decreased range of motion in the shoulder, which is called “adhesive capsulitis” or frozen shoulder.

Prevention of Tendinitis

To avoid tendinitis, follow these suggestions while performing activities:

  • At first, take it slow, then gradually increase your activity level. 
  • Use limited force and limited repetitions.
  • Stop when it hurts. do something else. Try again later and if the pain recurs, stop that activity for the day.

Treatment of Tendinitis 

Early treatment of tendinitis includes:

  • Avoid activities that exacerbate the problem
  • Relaxing the injured area
  • Icing the area on the day of the injury
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or using topical anti-inflammatory gels

If the health condition does not improve within a week, then visit a doctor because you may require other advanced treatments such as: 

  • Corticosteroid injection: also known as “steroids” and are usually used because they work faster to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical Therapy This can be very advantageous, especially for frozen shoulders. It includes various motion exercises and splinting.
  • Surgery: It is rarely needed for serious problems that have not responded to other treatments.

Treatment of Tendinopathy 

While NSAIDs and corticosteroids are not being used as much to treat tendinopathy, there are plenty of other options. Most people believe that a combination of home remedies and physical therapy works best. But if your case is more severe, you may need surgery.

RICE Physical Therapy & Surgery 

There are various techniques that a physical therapist can use to cure tendinopathy, but two commonly used techniques include:

Deep transverse friction massage: This is a type of connective tissue massage that can help to stimulate cell activity and give rise to new collagen fibers

Eccentric exercises force your muscles to lengthen instead of shortening when they contract.


Your doctor may advise you for tendon repair surgery either if your condition is severe or does not recover by any other treatment.  They will probably recommend you do some physical therapy during the recovery process, which can take up to 12 weeks.

How Long Will It Take To Recover From Tendonitis?

It can take weeks to months for tendonitis to go away, depending on the severity of your injury.


You should see your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever (greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth
  • Multiple sites of pain or general illness 
  • Not able to move the affected area

These could be signals of another issue that require immediate attention.


What is the approach?

Although tendinopathy can be very painful, there are several things that can help manage the pain. The combination of home remedies and physical therapy provides relief to numerous people. But if your condition does not seem to be improved then this may be the time to consider tendon repair surgery.


About The Author

Tanveer Bhutani
Eva Hospital encompasses various modern orthopedic practices pioneered by the prominent orthopedic surgeon in Ludhiana “Dr. Tanveer Singh Bhutani”.


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