Tendinitis or Tendinosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Written by: Dr. Diego José Giménez Belmonte
Published: | Updated: 16/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Tendinitis or tendinosis is inflammation of a tendon. Although commonly both terms are understood as the same disease, they require different treatments. Tendonitis refers to acute injuries and tendinosis is a chronic injury due to degeneration or tendon wear.

Tendinitis refers to the part of the body involved, for example, in the Achilles tendon. Traumatology specialists say it can occur in other parts of the body such as the shoulder, elbow, wrist, finger or thigh. It is caused by excessive use of a tendon or an injury in this. It can also affect people of any age, but it is more common among adults who do a lot of sport. Older people are also susceptible to tendinitis because their tendons tend to lose elasticity and weaken as they age.




What are tendons

A tendon is the tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is flexible, resistant and fibrous. And stretching from muscle to bone. Although the tendons and ligaments are hard and fibrous, they are called soft tissues because of their common comparison with bone or cartilage.

Swollen tendons (tendonitis) are more likely to break. If the sheath around the tendon becomes inflamed, instead of the tendon itself, the condition is called tenosynovitis. Tendonitis and tenosynovitis can occur simultaneously.


Symptoms of tendinitis

Pain, feeling that the tendon is crackling as it moves, swelling in the affected area in addition to being hot and red, and developing lumps.

If there is a rupture you can feel a hollow in the tendon line and the movement will be very difficult.


Causes of tendonitis

The main cause is the repetition of a movement. It can also be caused by a sudden injury. It is usually developed in people whose jobs or hobbies involve repetitive movements.


Risk Factors for Tendonitis

Tendons with age become less flexible, making them more susceptible to injury. In addition, some jobs can be risk factors because they involve tasks such as repetitive movements, uncomfortable positions, vibrations and vigorous efforts. The same goes for sports like races, tennis, swimming, basketball and golf, as they involve repetitive movements.

On the other hand, people with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of developing tendinitis.


Diagnosis of tendonitis

Tendonitis can be diagnosed by the primary care physician based on the patient's symptoms and a physical examination. On the other hand, radiographs showing calcium deposits around the tendon may help confirm a diagnosis. Finally, imaging tests, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can reveal swelling of the tendon sheath.


Types of Tendonitis

Among the various types of tendinitis are:

- Achilles tendonitis, a common sports injury that sometimes can also be caused by poorly fitting shoes or that do not adequately support the foot. She is much more likely to have patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

- Tendinitis of the supraspinatus or rotator cuff is the one that forms in the superior part of the articulation of the shoulder. It becomes inflamed and causes pain when the arm moves. If other tendons in the same area are also affected, the patient may have rotator cuff syndrome.

- The tennis elbow or golfer's elbow causes pain in the outside of the elbow. Medial epidondylitis is on the inner side of the elbow and is more common among golfers. The pain sometimes radiates to the wrist.

- DeQuervain stenosing tenosynovitis causes a swelling in the sheath surrounding the tendons of the thumb.

- The spring finger causes the thumb or thumb to click when straightening. It is fixed in a flexed position because the tendon sheath in the palm of the hand is thickened and inflamed. Sometimes a lump is formed along the tendon.


Treatments for tendonitis

The treatment is aimed at relieving pain and reducing inflammation. In many cases rest, the application of ice packs in the affected area and local or oral anti-inflammatories are all that the patient needs. The symptoms of tendinitis can last from a few days to several weeks or months.

The patient needs to stop doing what caused tendonitis. If full stop is not possible, a significant reduction in activity will help prevent complications. For inflammation to subside, the affected area needs to rest. A bandage, splint or tape can help reduce movement. In severe cases a plaster may be necessary. As possible treatments there are:

- Applying an ice pack or hot water towel to the affected area can relieve pain and swelling. It is important not to apply ice directly on the skin.

- Some analgesics are useful for treating pain associated with tenosynovitis.

- Corticosteroid injections are also a possible treatment. However, repeated injections can weaken the tendon by significantly increasing the risk of rupture.

- A physiotherapist can manipulate and massage the affected area providing useful relief and accelerating the healing process. A specific exercise program designed to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon and muscle can help.

- Shock wave therapy or surgery works for persistent cases. A shock wave is passed through the skin, resulting in the separation of calcium deposits. The deposits can also be surgically removed.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Diego José Giménez Belmonte
Orthopaedic Surgery

A well-known specialist in Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, Dr. Giménez Belmonte has a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Murcia since 1987. With more than 20 years of experience, he specializes in shoulder and elbow surgery, arthroscopic surgery In general, to sports injuries, musco-skeletal ultrasounds and echo-guided infiltrations. He has participated in many conferences and courses, both national and international, and has been teaching at UCAM since 2016.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients