Tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone.

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This condition causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint and can occur in any of your body’s tendons. However, it’s most commonly found around shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels.

What is Tendinitis?

Tendinitis (also known as tendonitis) is a condition characterized by the swelling and inflammation of tendons, the strong cords that connect muscles to bones. While tendinitis can occur in any tendon, it is most often seen in tendons around the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.

Causes of Tendinitis

Tendinitis is typically caused by a repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden, more serious injury. Occupational and sports activities that can cause tendinitis include gardening, raking, carpentry, cleaning, painting, shoveling, tennis, golf, skiing, and throwing and pitching. Age also plays a role, as tendons become less flexible with age and more susceptible to injury.

Symptoms of Tendinitis

The most common symptom of tendinitis is pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area. The pain may gradually build up or be sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present. Other symptoms include mild swelling, tenderness, and a feeling of heat in the affected area.

Types of Tendinitis

Tendinitis can affect different parts of the body. Some common types include:

Achilles Tendinitis

This affects the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the back of the heel. It’s common in runners and middle-aged people who play sports only on weekends

Supraspinatus Tendinitis

This involves the tendon at the top of the shoulder joint, causing pain when lifting the arm, especially when lifting it above the head.

Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) are conditions that affect the tendons attached to the outside or inside of the elbow. They are caused by repetitive use of the elbow.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

This type affects the tendons at the base of the thumb, leading to pain in the wrist and the base of the thumb.

Trigger Finger

This is characterized by one of the fingers or the thumb getting stuck in a bent position. It occurs when inflammation narrows the space within the sheath surrounding the tendon in the affected finger.

Risk Factors of Tendinitis

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing tendinitis:

  1. Age: As people age, their tendons become less flexible and more prone to injury.
  2. Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive motions or vibrating tools can increase the risk of tendinitis.
  3. Sports: Participation in certain sports, like baseball, basketball, bowling, golf, running, swimming, and tennis, can predispose individuals to tendinitis.
  4. Certain Health Conditions: People with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes are more susceptible to tendon inflammation.

Diagnosis of Tendinitis

A doctor will conduct a physical examination and review the patient’s history to diagnose tendinitis. In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI might be used to rule out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.

Management and Prevention of Tendinitis

While treatment options are not covered in this article, there are several management and prevention strategies for tendinitis:

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of tendinitis and prevent its recurrence. These include:

  • Avoiding activities that cause pain.
  • Applying ice to the affected area after activity.
  • Using proper technique and posture in occupational and sports activities.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Engaging in exercises that strengthen the muscles around the affected tendon can help alleviate symptoms and prevent future incidents. Physical therapy can be particularly beneficial.

Ergonomics and Equipment

Using ergonomic tools and equipment, and ensuring proper body mechanics, can reduce the strain on tendons.

Rest and Recovery

Allowing adequate time for rest and recovery after activities that strain the tendons is crucial.


Can tendinitis go away on its own?

Yes, tendinitis can often resolve on its own with rest and self-care measures. However, persistent or severe cases may require medical intervention.

Avoid repetitive motions or activities that strain the affected tendon. High-impact sports or heavy lifting can exacerbate the condition.

Yes, tendinitis refers to inflammation of a tendon, while tendinosis is chronic tendon degeneration without inflammation, typically due to age or long-term overuse.

A healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can support tendon health and potentially reduce symptoms of tendinitis.

Tendinitis typically presents with localized pain and tenderness near a joint. If symptoms persist or differ, it’s important to seek medical evaluation for a precise diagnosis.

Untreated tendinitis can lead to tendon rupture or degenerative changes in the tendon, potentially causing chronic pain and disability.

Rest, ice, and gentle stretching can be effective. Some find relief with natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric, but always consult a healthcare provider first.

Yes, while more common in adults, especially those over 40, tendinitis can occur at any age, including in children and teenagers


Tendinitis is a common condition that results from the overuse or injury of tendons. By understanding its causes, symptoms, and risk factors, individuals can take proactive steps to manage and prevent tendinitis. Although it can be painful and frustrating, with proper care and prevention strategies, most people can effectively manage tendinitis and continue their daily activities without major disruptions.

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