What is Tendinitis and Tendinopathy?

Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to muscle. When these tendons become sore and /or inflamed, the condition is called tendinitis (or tendonitis). Tendinitis usually happens suddenly, due to overuse or injury, and the tendon gets inflamed or swollen.

Tendinopathy happens over time, especially in older patients or people who have been previously injured. In tendinopathy, the tendons are not usually inflamed or swollen, but they are painful.

Tendons most commonly affected are those attaching the biceps to the shoulder, tendons around the elbow joint, and the Achilles tendon just above the heel.

Symptoms of tendinitis include:

  • Pain near where a tendon joins a bone to muscle
  • Swelling of tenderness near a joint such as the elbow, wrist or shoulder
  • Difficulty moving the affected area—arm, hand or leg—without pain

Sometimes, an injured tendon tears. This can cause a sudden “pop,” pain, bruising, or swelling. Doctors often call this tear a “rupture,” especially if the Achilles tendon tears.

Biceps tendinopathy symptoms:

  • Pain in the front of the shoulder
  • Pain that’s worse at night and with lifting, pulling or reaching overhead
  • Trouble moving the upper arm and shoulder

Achilles tendinopathy symptoms:

  • Pain in the back of the leg, just above the heel
  • Pain that usually gets worse with exercise and better with rest
  • Stiffness or soreness in the back of the leg, especially in the morning
  • Swelling of the skin over the Achilles tendon
  • Trouble standing on tiptoe

Achilles tendon rupture symptoms can include:

  • Sudden, severe pain in the back of the leg
  • Trouble putting weight on the foot or walking normally

Elbow tendinopathy symptoms:

  • Pain in or around the elbow. The pain can start slowly or suddenly and can spread to the upper arm or forearm.
  • Weakness of the forearm muscles
  • Swelling (if you have tendinitis)

If tendinitis is not treated, you increase your risk of having the tendon weaken or rupture, which may require surgery to repair.

Your doctor or nurse will talk with you to learn your symptoms and examine the affected areas. He or she might send you for an imaging test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan. Imaging tests create pictures that help doctors see what’s happening inside your body.

Advantage of going to Rheumatology Specialty Center:

Because we have musculoskeletal ultrasound onsite, your doctor here may use ultrasound to more closely examine the tendon such as a rotator cuff.

This may save you the expense of a copay of a more expensive study such as an MRI. If needed, the doctor can use the ultrasound to give you a localized injection of medicine right into the affected or inflamed area.

If you think you may have tendinitis, call us today for an appointment or call your primary care doctor first if your insurance requires a referral. We specialize in non-surgical remedies for your health problems.