Tendonitus Overview

Tendonitus is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon which causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint. Tendonitis may occur in any of the bodys tendons and is typically common around the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and heels.

The more severe cases of tendonitis may lead to the rupture of a tendon and may need surgical repair. In less severe cases of tendonitos, rest and medications are used to reduce the pain and inflammation, along with preventive measures to reduce the chances of developing tendonitus. Tendonitus may become chronic or long term and can lead to the rupture of a tendon. It may also cause permanent damage to the tissue which makes up the tendons.

Tendonitus Risk Factors

The risk of tendonitus increases if excessive repetitive motion of the arms or legs occurs. Swimmers, tennis players, golfers, and professional baseball players are more susceptible to tendonitis in their shoulders, elbows, and arms, while basketball players, runners, and dancers are more prone to tendon inflammation in their legs and feet.

However, one does not have to be a professional athlete to develop tendonitis. The incidence of tendonitis increases with age as the muscles and tendons tend to lose some of their elasticity. Some common names for various tendonitis problems are tennis elbow, golfers elbow, pitchers shoulder, and jumpers knee.


The symptoms of tendonitis that are produced near a joint aggravated by movement and include pain, mild swelling, and tenderness. There are specific types of tendonitis including tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, adductor tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, and rotator cuff tendonitis. The pain of tendonitis is usually worse with activities that use the muscle that is attached to the involved tendon.

Tendons are usually surrounded by a sheath of tissue which is similar to the lining of the joints. These tendons are subject to the wear and tear of aging, inflammatory diseases, and direct injury. The most common cause of tendonitis is injury or overuse of the tendon during work or play.

The pain is usually the result of a small tear in or inflammation of the tendon that links the muscle to the bone. Tendonitis may also be associated with inflammatory diseases that occur throughout the body, including rheumatoid arthritis.


While most cases of tendonitis do not require the care of a physician, if pain is interfering with day to day activities or if soreness does not improve, a doctors care should be sought. The doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce discomfort, plus they may want to conduct tests to rule out other conditions which may be causing the problems.

However, if a fever is present and the area affected by tendonitis appears to be red, swollen, and warm, there may be an infection. The doctor may suspect tendonitis after observing signs and symptoms of the condition, but to make a diagnosis, the doctor will require a complete physical examination.

X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and blood tests may also be ordered if they suspend that a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the underlying cause of the tendonitis.

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