What is it?
Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — any one of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. The condition causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint. While tendinitis can occur in any of your body's tendons, it's most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists and heels.
Some common names for various tendinitis problems are:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer's elbow
- Pitcher's shoulder
- Swimmer's shoulder
- Jumper's knee
If tendinitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgical repair. But most cases of tendinitis can be successfully treated with rest and medications to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Signs and symptoms of tendinitis occur at the point where a tendon attaches to a bone and typically include:
- Pain, often described as a dull ache
- Mild swelling
Although tendinitis can be caused by a sudden injury, the condition is much more likely to stem from the repetition of a particular movement over time. Most people develop tendinitis because their jobs or hobbies involve repetitive motions, which aggravate the tendons needed to perform the tasks.
Risk factors for developing tendinitis include age, working in particular jobs or participating in certain sports.
As people get older, their tendons become less flexible — which makes them easier to injure.
Tendinitis is more common in people whose jobs involve:
- Repetitive motions
- Awkward positions
- Frequent overhead reaching
- Forceful exertion
You may be more likely to develop tendinitis if you participate in certain sports that involve repetitive motions, such as.
Without proper treatment, tendinitis can increase your risk of experiencing tendon rupture — a much more serious condition that may require surgical repair.
Tendinitis can usually be diagnosed during the physical exam alone. Your doctor may order X-rays or other imaging tests if he or she needs to rule out other conditions that may be causing your signs and symptoms.