What is Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is a condition in which the tissue that connects the muscles to the adjacent bones becomes irritated or inflamed. It can occur in any location of the body, but it is most frequently seen in the tendons of the knees, heels, elbows, shoulders, and wrists. The more common types of tendinitis include golfer’s elbow, pitcher’s shoulder, jumper’s knee, tennis elbow, and swimmer’s shoulder. Severe tendinitis can eventually lead to a ruptured tendon.

Tendinitis sometimes manifests after a sudden injury, but it is more often due to repetitious motions over a period of time. Many cases develop because the patient’s hobbies or job require repetitive movement that puts stress on the tendons needed to do those tasks. Older adults are more susceptible to developing tendinitis, especially if they are active in sports like golf, running, and swimming. Other activities commonly associated with the injury include raking, shoveling, gardening, and carpentry.

What are the Symptoms of Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is characterized by pain where the tendon attaches to the bone, usually reported as a dull ache that arises when the affected area is moved. This pain can build gradually or strike suddenly and be quite severe. Patients also commonly experience mild swelling and tenderness. Tendinitis in the shoulder can result in loss of motion of the joint. A medical professional should evaluate the injury when symptoms become persistent and begin to interfere with daily activities for any lengthy period of time.

How is a Tendinitis Treated?

In most cases, tendinitis will respond well to at-home care. Following RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is a good place to start, although it is worth noting that too much inactivity may lead to joint stiffness. Over-the-counter pain relievers are beneficial in relieving swelling and discomfort. If necessary, a doctor can prescribe corticosteroids or recommend various types of physical therapy. The most severe cases may require surgical repair.

Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
August 10, 2017