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Tendinitis - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnoses and Treatments

Published on Sep 19, 2019 and last reviewed on Oct 03, 2019   -  5 min read


Tendinitis results from overusing a tendon or injury to a tendon, which is commonly seen in athletes. Learn about its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Tendinitis - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnoses and Treatments

What Is Tendinitis?

Tendon is a thick fibrous structure in the body, which connects muscle to bone. Inflammation of the tendon is known as tendinitis or tendonitis. The exact cause is still debatable, but the most common theory excepted is it occurs due to overuse, which causes microtrauma to the tendon. It commonly affects the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, thigh, ankle, etc. Depending on the location, the common tendinitis problems are:

Tendinitis is common in athletes though it can occur at any age. Older people are more susceptible as tendons become weaker and less elastic with age.

When the sheath around the tendon is inflamed, it is called tenosynovitis. Tendinosis is a similar condition, but it is a chronic degenerative condition, which causes long-term pain.

What are the types of tendinitis?

Depending on the parts of the body affected, the different types of tendinitis are:

What Are the Symptoms of Tendinitis?

The symptoms include:

What Causes Tendinitis?

The common causes of tendinitis are:

Tennis, golf, bowling, or basketball players are at a higher risk of developing tendinitis.

What Are the Risk Factors for Tendinitis?

The factors that increase the risk of tendonitis are:

What Are the Complications Associated with Tendinitis?

If left untreated, tendinitis can lead to:

How to Diagnose Tendinitis?

Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical examination. He or she will check your range of motion and will ask you about any recent injury, your work type, previously diagnosed medical condition, and the medicines you are taking.

Diagnosis of tendinitis is usually clinical, but to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor might ask you to get X-rays, MRI scans, or ultrasounds.

What Are the Treatment Options for Tendinitis?

The treatment helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some of the treatment options include:

Home Remedies:

Most of the time, RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation, is all the treatment that is needed to treat tendinitis. The home remedies include:

You need rest to heal your tissues, but avoid prolonged inactivity, as it can result in joint stiffness. After some days, move your joint gently to maintain flexibility.


Manipulating, massaging, and exercise designed to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon and muscle might help reduce chronic pain. For example, eccentric strengthening.

Also, ultrasonic or LASER therapy is also one of the options in physiotherapy.


Always consult a doctor before taking any medication. Some of the medicines used are:


The surgical options include:

Can Tendinitis Be Prevented?

Follow these tips to reduce the chance of developing tendinitis:

If your pain is getting worse even after trying home remedies, consult a doctor online now.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Treatment for Tendonitis?

The best treatment option for tendonitis is to follow the RICE formula. R stands for rest, I indicates an application of ice, C stands for compression, and E emphasizes the importance of elevation of the tendon region that has been injured. Anti-inflammatory drugs are known to be beneficial. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are most commonly used.


Will Tendonitis Ever Go Away?

Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons. It is known to subside soon in most of the cases. Immobilization is an essential part of the treatment procedure. The pain will gradually reduce after the healing of the swelling in the tendon. In severe cases, the patient must visit a rheumatologist or orthopedic surgeon.


How Does Tendonitis Pain Feel Like?

The pain will be severe only if there is excessive swelling. Otherwise, it is usually a dull ache. It is not known to be continuous and is generally relieved at rest. There will be a pain when trying to move the injured limb. If you are experiencing severe pain, you should consult your doctor immediately.


How Long Does Tendonitis Take to Heal?

Most patients heal within a month, but in chronic cases, the tendonitis takes more than six weeks to heal. In chronic cases, there will be an inability to move the joints. The sheath surrounding the tendons will be narrowed in chronic conditions of tendonitis.


Is Cold Heat or Better for Tendonitis?

In the initial stages of tendonitis, cold treatment is the best option. Applying ice to the injured area will help in the reduction of swelling. This happens due to the constriction of the vessels. Ice is also known to reduce the level of pain. After one week, the patient can go for heat treatment.


What Cures Tendonitis Pain?

For long-lasting pain, anti-inflammatory agents are the right choice. You should get recommendations from your doctor and also ask for an appropriate dosage. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are given for a short period to relieve pain.


How to Heal Tendonitis Faster?

Follow Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation- RICE concept. Cold packs should be applied in the affected area for nearly 15 minutes. It is necessary to apply ice in circular motions. It can be done every two hours. This can be repeated for three days.


Which Foods Trigger Tendonitis?

The foods that are rich in uric acid are known to aggravate the condition of tendonitis. The foods that increase uric acid levels are meat, processed foods, caffeine, potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, dairy products, eggs, tomatoes, pepper, alcohol, peppers, and salt.


Is Massage Helpful for Tendonitis?

Massage can increase friction. This will stimulate the production of collagen. It can repair the damaged tendon and help in the healing of the affected area quickly. Massage therapy is known to improve the circulatory flow. It can restore the ability of the joints.


Can Stretching My Muscles Make Tendonitis Worse?

Stretching is known to provide only temporary relief to the joints. Sometimes, it is known to have a negative influence on the bones and tendons. But stretching can provide short-term relief to the tendons. It is not recommended for a complete healing procedure.


What Do Doctors Prescribe for Tendonitis?

The doctor may recommend below medications to cure tendonitis, the medicines are:
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
- Pain relievers. Taking Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen sodium may relieve discomfort associated with tendonitis.
- Corticosteroids.


Is Walking Good for Tendonitis?

Walking could be good for tendonitis. Switching from high impact activities like swimming, cycling, intense exercises to easy walk is good. While observing one’s own breathing during the walk can be an excellent mindful exercise. Do not prefer to go for long walks. Walking short-distance would be sufficient.


Should I Go to the Hospital for Tendonitis?

Yes, it is recommended to consult a doctor if the following signs are noticed.
- The tendonitis pain does not relieve in seven to ten days.
- The tendonitis pain is exceptionally severe, and also if swelling is noticed, there will be a marked loss of motion.
- If there is a ruptured tendon, you need medical care right away.


What Happens If You Ignore Tendonitis?

If the tendonitis is kept untreated, it might develop into chronic tendonitis and result in permanent degradation of your tendons. In some other cases, the untreated tendonitis may lead to tendon rupture, for which surgical treatment is required to fix it.


Which Cream Is Good for Tendonitis?

The topical application creams can treat tendonitis. Anti-inflammatory agents such as Diclofenac sodium gels are highly beneficial. Applying these gels twice a day would provide sufficient relief. It is known to be more effective than the intake of painkiller medications.


How Bad Does Tendonitis Hurt?

In the majority of the cases, it has dull pain only. You will experience pain only when you try to move your limbs. There will be a certain degree of tightness when you walk or move. It hurts very badly when you try to move.


Does Stretching Help With Tendonitis?

No, stretching does not improve the condition of tendonitis. It is known to provide relief for a short duration. In some cases, doing stretching exercises can end up in negative results. It is better to get advice from your doctor.


How Much Rest Do You Need for Tendonitis?

You would require additional rest for the healing of tendonitis. It is necessary to make changes in the long-term habits you are having. It is necessary to apply ice packs in the affected region.


Can Tendonitis Come on Suddenly?

Tendonitis is known to affect a few patients suddenly, but it will gradually develop into complicated conditions over time. Some patients experience pain and tenderness while touching. If it tends to increase, then consult a doctor immediately.


How Can You Tell the Difference Between Tendonitis and Arthritis?

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints. It will be accompanied by pain in the joints. Cartilages connect the joints. If there is inflammation in the tendon or cartilages, then it is known to be tendonitis. Arthritis is known to heal after an extended period, whereas tendonitis can heal faster.


Can an X-Ray Show Tendonitis?

An X-ray cannot show tendons, so this diagnostic procedure will not help detect tendonitis. The doctor will recommend another diagnostic procedure called selective tissue tension test. This will be beneficial in detecting tendonitis.


Why Is Tendonitis Pain Worse at Night?

The reason for excessive pain at night is gravity. When the person is lying down, there will be a change in the position of the muscles and tendons. The effects of gravity will decrease the blood flow to tissues like tendons. A reduction in the blood flow might increase the level of pain at night.


Will Tendonitis Become Inflamed?

Yes, tendonitis will have inflammation. Untreated cases of tendonitis will tend to worsen the condition. The repetitive motion is also known to damage the tendon. In some cases, tendonitis can happen due to trauma.

Last reviewed at:
03 Oct 2019  -  5 min read


Dr. Anuj Gupta

Dr. Anuj Gupta

Orthopedics And Traumatology


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