Tendonitis: Learn More About Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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elbow tendonitis

Story at-a-glance -

  • Tendons, which are flexible, tough and fibrous, connect your muscles to your bones. Muscles and tendons work together to exert a pulling force that helps you move properly
  • Tendonitis is an acute condition that occurs when injury to a tendon causes swelling and pain. It mainly affects your elbows, wrists, fingers, thighs, shoulders, knees and Achilles heels

Tendons, which are flexible, tough and fibrous, connect your muscles to your bones. Muscles and tendons work together to exert a pulling force that helps you move properly.1 However, injuries can hinder tendon function and cause immense pain, which can trigger tendonitis. Learn how this disease manifests, the different types of tendonitis and how you can alleviate this condition.

What Is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is an acute condition that occurs when injury to a tendon causes swelling and pain.2 It mainly affects your elbows, wrists, fingers, thighs,3 shoulders, knees and Achilles heels.4 Tendonitis may develop at the same time as tenosynovitis, wherein inflammation occurs in the sheath surrounding the tendon, but not on the tendon itself.5

Tendonitis Versus Tendinosis: Learn the Difference

It can be easy to confuse tendonitis and tendinosis, since they share similar causes and can both trigger pain, joint stiffness and limited joint movement. However, there are major differences you should know about:6,7

Tendonitis Tendinosis
It's an acute or short-term condition It's a chronic condition caused by a nonhealing injury or repetitive trauma
Tendonitis causes inflammation, swelling, redness, pain and warmth Pain manifests sans inflammation
Tears and damage to the tendons are more evident Only microtears are seen on the tendon when observed under a microscope
Microtears and inflammatory cells can be spotted when tendon is observed under a microscope

What Causes Tendonitis?

There are two main tendonitis causes: sudden major injuries and repetitive movements over a time period while doing activities like:8,9,10

  • Gardening
  • Raking and shoveling
  • Carpentry
  • Cleaning or scrubbing
  • Painting
  • Throwing and pitching

Take note of these other factors that can increase a person's tendonitis risk:11,12

  • Age — Adults, especially those over 40 years old, are more injury-prone and have less-flexible and less-elastic tendons.
  • Playing sports — Bowling, running, swimming, tennis, basketball, baseball or golf involve repetitive motions that can affect tendons. Your risk increases if you fail to condition your body properly before exercising or doing sports, or if you overuse and suddenly increase activity on tendons.
  • Health conditions — People with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis or thyroid disorders, those who experienced unusual reactions to medications, or people with hand or finger infections from cat or dog bites have a higher tendonitis risk.
  • Body structure and posture — Tendonitis risk is higher with poor overall posture, and those with abnormal or poorly placed bones or joints, since they increase stress on the tendon.
  • Jobs or profession — Tendonitis is frequently seen in people whose jobs require them to stay in awkward positions, perform repeated actions, reach overhead, vibrate or forcefully exert their body.

What Are the Common Tendonitis Symptoms?

The main symptoms of tendonitis that can affect different body parts include:13

  • Pain that worsens during movement
  • Crackling or grating sensation of the tendon during movement
  • Swelling, heat and redness
  • Lump that develops on the tendon

Take note that there are some signs of tendonitis that can indicate a more severe condition. If you encounter any of the following symptoms, consult a physician immediately:14

  • A fever over 100 degrees F
  • Increased swelling, redness and warmth on the affected area
  • A feeling of general illness
  • Pain in multiple body parts
  • Inability to move an affected area

What Are the Types of Tendonitis?

This type of condition can be classified according to the body part or location where the injury occurs. Tendonitis can affect various body parts, such as the:15

  • Base of your thumb
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Achilles tendon

Types of Tendonitis That Affect Your Arms

Supraspinatus tendonitis — Inflammation is present in the tendon around the top of the shoulder. Pain is felt when the arm is moved, especially upward, and the patient finds it difficult to lie down on the affected shoulder.16

Shoulder tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis — The rotator cuff, composed of different muscles and tendons, attaches the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. Shoulder tendonitis can cause the rotator cuff to get stuck in your acromion, or the highest point of your shoulder. Mild to severe rotator cuff inflammation is a common shoulder tendonitis symptom,17 together with weakness, tenderness or pain during shoulder or elbow movement.18

Bicep tendonitis or bicipital tendonitis19It affects bicep tendons in the front of the upper arm, which assist in stabilizing your upper arm bone into the shoulder socket and in moving arms during overhead movements.20 Bicep tendonitis symptoms include inflammation,21 shoulder pain, elbow or shoulder weakness, forearm discomfort or a "popeye" muscle that gathers in your arm after it tears.22

Triceps tendonitis — This affects the area where the triceps tendon connects to the elbow joint, and causes severe pain.23

Elbow tendonitis — This has two subtypes:

Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow — Pain is felt on the outermost portion of the elbow, and down toward the wrist.24

Medial epidondylitis or golfer's elbow — Pain is centralized in the inner side of the elbow.25

 

Calcific tendonitis — Calcium deposits are seen in muscles or tendons, triggering inability to move the arm and sleep-disrupting shoulder pain and discomfort. This is common in the rotator cuff, with pain manifesting at the front or back of the shoulder and moving downward to the arm. Calcific tendonitis occurs in three stages, and you may notice that the pain suddenly occurs or gradually increases.26

Types of Tendonitis That Can Affect Your Hands

  • De Quervain's tendonitis or thumb tendonitis — De Quervain's tendonitis occurs when there's inflammation of the sheath around the thumb tendons. Patients feel pain when moving the thumb.27
  • Trigger finger — The thickening and inflammation of the tendon sheath in the palm of the hand can cause problems. Your finger or thumb typically remains bent and makes a clicking noise once straightened out.28
  • Wrist tendonitis or tenosynovitis — It's felt in areas where tendons interact or pass over a bony area. Pain is a common wrist tendonitis symptom, along with swelling around the wrist joint, tendon warmth and redness, or crepitus, a grinding sensation that's common during tendon movement.29

Types of Tendonitis That May Target Your Legs

Patellar tendonitis or knee tendonitis — Tendonitis mainly affects the knee, and is characterized by increased stress on the patellar tendon.30 The primary patellar tendonitis symptom is pain between the kneecap and where the patellar tendon attaches to your tibia or shinbone. Discomfort starts gradually and can be felt after intense workouts or physical activity.31

Patella tendon tears may occur and lead to inflammation, although they can heal quickly. Just remember that if strains occur frequently, tears appear faster.32 Patellar tendon ruptures, wherein the tendon is torn and completely separates from the kneecap, can also arise if you continue to place excess stress on the tendon.33

Quadriceps tendonitis or jumper's knee34The quadriceps is a group of muscles found at the front of your thigh, and assists in straightening and flexing hips. Although they start out as muscles, they switch into tendons and band to form the quadriceps tendon found above the patella.35 Microtrauma caused by repetitive tendon use is the main cause of quadriceps tendonitis.36

Hamstring tendonitis — Tightened and inflamed hamstrings caused by excessive movements can lead to pain behind the knee.37

Tendonitis May Arise in Your Feet Too

Peroneal tendonitis — Peroneal tendons are found in each leg, and stabilize the ankle once it bears weight, help protect it from sprains, and assist in turning the foot out and maintaining the foot's arch while walking. Peroneal tendonitis is characterized by peroneal tendon inflammation: Tendons are overused and fully loaded, and rub with bones near it.38

Posterior tibial tendonitis — This type of tendonitis mainly affects a tendon found in the inner side of the ankle that joins the posterior tibial muscle to the bones of the feet.

Discomfort typically develops on the medial malleolus, the tail end of the shin bone (tibia) located under the inner side of the ankle. Your posterior tibial tendon is found under the medial malleolus, and it's this portion that's very problem-prone because it doesn't get enough blood for nourishment and repair. Once the tendon is injured, your body cannot properly supply the area with healing nutrients.39

Tibialis anterior tendonitis — Your anterior tibial tendon assists in controlling the front area of your foot once it hits the ground.40 Patients with this condition have overworked their anterior tibial tendon or poorly conditioned it.41

Achilles tendonitis — Considered the largest tendon in the body,42 the Achilles tendon is found between your heel and calf muscle.43 The main Achilles tendonitis symptom is mild pain that develops in the back of the leg or above the heel after physical activities.

Achilles tendon pain can intensify after performing intense activities. You may feel tenderness or stiffness in the morning, although this can be alleviated by performing mild activities.44 If indicators appear, have them checked by a doctor immediately as untreated cases may lead to Achilles tendon ruptures.45

Insertional Achilles tendonitis — It's caused by fiber degeneration of your Achilles tendon right as it inserts into the heel bone. Insertional Achilles tendonitis is linked to an inflammation of a tendon sheath or retrocalcaneal bursa located in the same area.

You may feel gradual pain and swelling where the Achilles tendon inserts behind your heel bone, even without a particular injury. As time passes, pain can worsen after performing activities in short bursts.

Tenderness can be present directly above the back of the heel bone and a prominent bone in the area, and you may find it difficult to move the ankle above a 90-degree position due to pain.46

Other Types of Tendonitis To Be Aware Of

  • Iliopsoas tendonitis or hip flexor tendonitis — This targets the iliopsoas tendon that connects thigh bones to muscle.47 Hip tendonitis symptoms include pain in the area and a clicking or snapping sensation in the groin or front of the hip that can worsen once you bend it against some resistance.48
  • Extensor tendonitis — Extensor tendons are located under the skin of your hand or the tops of the feet. Extensor tendonitis develops because of overuse of feet or hand muscles, bones and tendons.49

What Tests Are Done to Check for Tendonitis?

A physical examination is the first step in diagnosing tendonitis. Your doctor will check for:

  • A creaky sound when trying to move the tendon (this signifies thickening and inflammation of the tendon sheath)
  • Tenderness at a specific spot in the tendon

X-rays can show if calcium deposits are surrounding the tendon, while ultrasounds or an MRI may check for swelling.50 There are also specific tests done to diagnose a particular type of tendonitis:

De Quervain's tendonitis — The Finkelstein test entails bending your thumb across your palm, fingers over your thumb and then wrist toward the little finger. If you feel pain on the thumb side of the wrist, it's possible you have this condition.51

Bicep tendonitis — Two tests can check for bicep tendonitis:52

Speed's test — This is done sitting down, with the shoulder fixed at a 90-degree angle, elbow fully extended and forearm supinated (rotated so the palm faces forward or upward53).54

The physician inspects your biceps tendon on the affected shoulder and places a hand on your wrist to apply resistance. Pain or tenderness in the bicep may indicate that you have bicep tendonitis.55

Yergason's test — During this exam, you'll have to stabilize your arm against your body, and flex the elbow at a 90-degree angle. The physician checks your bicipital tendon and asks you to supinate your arm against some resistance. Bicep tendonitis is diagnosed if pain is felt in the bicipital groove or if the tendon slips out of its normal position.56

Untreated Achilles tendonitis cases can progress into an Achilles tendon rupture, so your doctor may need to conduct a physical test:57

  • Your lower leg is checked for tenderness and swelling, and for the presence of a gap in the tendon (a sign that your tendon has ruptured completely).
  • You'll be asked to kneel on a chair or lie down on your stomach with your feet dangling over the end of the exam table. The doctor will squeeze your calf muscle and check if the foot automatically flexes. If your foot doesn't flex, this indicates a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Are There Tendonitis Complications?

If left untreated, tendonitis may lead to recurrence of symptoms58 or tendon ruptures, which may need surgery to be addressed. Tendinosis, wherein your tendon may experience degenerative changes alongside abnormal new blood vessel growth, is possible too.59

How to Treat Tendonitis

There are remedies that may serve as a treatment for tendonitis:60

Rest — This is crucial in treating tendonitis as it helps reduce inflammation and protects against complications.

Hot towels and ice packs — Apply an ice pack or on the area for 10 to 15 minutes, once or twice a day. Cold therapy is best on injuries sustained in the last 48 hours. You can also take a warm bath or apply hot towels carefully to alleviate symptoms.61

Castor oil packs — Place oil onto a clean soft cloth, and cover it in plastic wrap. Apply the oil pack on the affected area, lay a heat source above the pack and place it there for 30 to 60 minutes.62

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — Blood samples are taken and spun to separate platelets and other healing factors. This forms a solution that'll be injected where irritation is felt. If you're planning to try PRP, err on the side of caution since more research is needed regarding it.

Acupuncture — Research has shown that acupuncture may help improve blood circulation toward the tendon and stimulate natural pain release of endorphin and serotonin hormones.63

Dry needling — This aims to encourage tendon healing. A needle is used to make small holes in the affected tendon.64

Ultrasonic treatment — A small incision is made near the affected area, allowing a special device to be inserted that utilizes ultrasonic sound waves to eliminate tendon scar tissue.

Treatment Protocols for Specific Types of Tendonitis

Some physicians recommend other forms of treatment, depending on the type of tendonitis a patient has:

Patellar tendonitis strap — This treatment may aid with pain relief. It puts pressure on the said tendon, directs it away from the area and moves it toward the strap.65

CAM Walker boot — Using this for several weeks may be useful to reduce pain brought on by peroneal tendonitis, although an ankle brace may also be ideal if you don't feel any tenderness while walking.66 However, take note that the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society recommends limiting walking time or time spent on your feet until pain subsides.

Wrist brace, splint or cast — This is recommended if you have wrist tendonitis. It immobilizes the wrist and promotes inflammation reduction. Your doctor may also suggest hand therapy. A therapist may create custom splints and supports for more efficient and less painful wrist joint movement.67

Elbow brace — It may alleviate elbow tendonitis and reduce risk of further tendon injury.68 You should also minimize movements to prevent overexertion. Strengthening your elbow muscles via physical therapy can also be advised.

Orthotic shoe inserts or wedges — Use these as an Achilles tendonitis treatment.69 They slightly raise your heel, lessen tendon strain and deliver a cushion that may decrease force placed on the tendon.70 Other viable treatment options for affected Achilles tendons include:71

Elevating your leg by placing it on a pillow while sitting or lying down

Compressing your leg by applying an elastic bandage around the lower leg and ankle to prevent swelling

Try Herbal Treatments for Tendonitis Pain

Instead of going the conventional route to ease the pain brought on by this injury, you can use herbs. Initial research has revealed that these herbs may have pain-relieving benefits that may work for tendonitis:72

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) — This vibrant spice is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving capabilities.73 People taking anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) or aspirin should talk to their doctor before consuming turmeric, since it can increase bleeding risk.

Willow bark (Salix alba) — Willow bark has pain-relieving properties, particularly for low back pain,74 and acts similarly as aspirin. Avoid taking willow bark if you have aspirin or salicylate allergies or are taking aspirin or blood-thinning drugs. Also, do not give this to children under 18 years old.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) — It may assist in reducing inflammation,75 although it's known to interact with certain medicines. Avoid consuming licorice if you are taking corticosteroids, or have:

Ideal Supplements for Tendonitis Patients

Supplements that may be useful for addressing tendonitis include:76

Bromelain — A proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapples, bromelain may help reduce inflammation.77 Avoid taking bromelain supplements if you:

Have stomach ulcers

Are taking anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) and aspirin, since bromelain may increase bleeding risk

Are taking antibiotics since bromelain may raise antibiotic levels in the body and trigger side effects

Vitamin C — This all-powerful vitamin can assist in healing inflammation.78 Exercise caution when taking vitamin C supplements with chemotherapy medications, estrogen and warfarin (Coumadin) because of possible interactions.

Vitamin A — Vitamin A may aid in boosting immune function.79 Supplements containing this vitamin must be avoided by pregnant women and should be taken carefully since they can interact with certain medications.

Vitamin E and essential fatty acids like krill oil or evening primrose oil — Both may be useful in decreasing inflammation.80,81 Because vitamin E, krill oil and evening primrose oil may raise your bleeding risk, consult your doctor before taking them.

Although supplements do provide some relief against tendonitis, they don't serve as a penultimate solution and only work as a component of a holistic treatment plan you have discussed with your doctor.

The Best Essential Oils for Tendonitis

You may try these essential oils to help address tendonitis pain:82,83

Wintergreen — A 2017 study highlighted that wintergreen oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and was traditionally used against muscular rheumatism, tendonitis and cramps.84

Birch — Research highlighted that birch oil may help address tendonitis, rheumatism, sore or cramped muscles, ulcers and skin conditions.85

Oregano — Oregano essential oil relieves muscle spasms, and reduces pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, backaches, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatism and sciatica.

CypressThis is known to stimulate circulation, and help alleviate muscle spasms, cramps and sore muscles.

LemongrassResults of a 2014 study highlighted lemongrass oil's anti-inflammatory and antifungal capabilities.86

Peppermint — Peppermint oil was used in traditional medicine as a topical remedy for muscle pain.87

LavenderThis has anti-inflammatory properties,88 and may be useful against sore muscles, sprains and stiff joints.89

HelichrysumIt's said to help ease swelling and inflammation triggered by arthritis, backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatism and sciatica.

Before using essential oils, talk to a holistic doctor to know about the potential impacts they may have on your body, and take an allergen patch test to determine if you're allergic to some substances.

Surgical Procedures Your Doctor May Recommend

Surgery may be required if the tendon has separated from the bone,90 or if home remedies aren't effective in addressing the condition. Examples of procedures for tendonitis include:91,92

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) — It's recommended if your symptoms won't go away, and if tendons have calcium deposits surrounding them. The physician runs a shockwave through the skin to shatter calcium deposits.93

 

Wrist tendonitis surgery — Your tendon sheath will be checked first. Afterward, the surgeon opens it, and promotes pressure release that'll allow tendons to function smoothly and move freely.94 Inflamed tissue in the area can also be removed.95

 

Arthroscopic surgery — It's usually done if there's pain caused by shoulder instability or increased pressure exerted by shoulder bones on the tendon. A small incision is made and the surgeon inserts small instruments into the gap. Fiber optic technology makes it possible to check the shoulder joint and fix the affected tendon.96

 

Biceps tenodesis — This surgery is often done to repair your biceps tendon, with the patient under general anesthesia. There are two categories of biceps tenodesis: soft tissue techniques and hardware fixation techniques, and under each classification are two types of procedures:97

 

Soft tissue techniques — Open keyhole procedure98 and the Pitt technique

Hardware fixation techniques — Crew fixation technique and Endobutton technique

Peroneal tendon debridement and repair — Considered effective if less than 50 percent of your tendon has been damaged, tendon debridement and repair involves removing damaged tendon and inflammatory tissue. Repairs are then carried out, and the surgeon rearranges your tendon to restore its optimal shape.

 

Tenodesis — This surgery, which is often recommended for peroneal tendonitis, entails sewing a damaged tendon into the normal tendon, and may be ideal if more than 50 percent of the tendon is damaged. The surgeon may remove a few centimeters off a damaged peroneus brevis tendon and attach the ends to a peroneus longus tendon next to it.

 

Achilles tendonitis surgery — Some people may need to undergo an Achilles tendon repair surgery. It can be minimally invasive, with a surgeon making several small incisions on the skin, inserting a special telescope containing a light source and a tiny camera, and repairing the tendon. However, a typical procedure involves your surgeon making a large incision behind the calf. What will happen next depends on the tendon's condition:99

 

Ruptured tendon — Stitches are made on the affected area.

Degenerated tendon — Damaged tendon is removed, and the remaining tendon is stitched and repaired.

Severely damaged tendon — A portion of or the entire Achilles tendon may be replaced with a tendon taken from another area in the foot.

Oscillating needle procedure — Ultrasound imaging is utilized to guide a small oscillating needle to the affected area and extract damaged portions of the tendon, while avoiding healthy areas. The Mayo Clinic highlights that while this a relatively new procedure, results have been promising.

 

Patellar tendon debridement — This surgery may be recommended if other options have failed to treat your patellar tendonitis.

 

Be aware that there are risks involved if you agree to undergo surgery for tendonitis. Talk to your doctor before agreeing to any of these procedures so you know about the potential side effects that you may encounter.

Conventional Tendonitis Treatments Can Trigger Side Effects

Most doctors recommend these treatments for tendonitis, but be aware that they can result in side effects:100

Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)101

  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Formation of a hole in your stomach or bowel
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rare complications like liver, kidney or heart problems
  • Heart failure, heart attacks and strokes

Corticosteroid injections102

  • Infections
  • Lightening of skin
  • Bleeding of broken blood vessels in skin or muscle
  • Easy bruising
  • Inflammation in the injection area
  • Weakened tendons
  • Tendon ruptures
  • Avascular necrosis (rare but adverse damage on large joint bones)

Some of the Best Exercises for Tendonitis

Incorporating exercise is crucial since it helps strengthen muscles surrounding the tendons. If you have been diagnosed with these types of tendonitis, there are notable reasons why exercising is essential:103

  • Patellar tendonitis — Strengthening exercises help decrease muscle spasms while lengthening the muscle-tendon unit. They also help increase thigh muscle strength, as weak thigh muscles can increase strain on the patellar tendon. Ideal moves include those that lower the legs very slowly after an extension, and leg presses that may work on strengthening the leg muscles.104
  • Bicep tendonitis — Exercises that focus on stretching and progressive strengthening may aid in building muscle endurance and enhancing range of motion.105

Your doctor can advise you to undergo physical therapy to speed up the healing process and alleviate pain.106

If You Have Achilles Tendonitis, Try These Exercises

Achilles tendonitis can result in devastating complications if left untreated. Exercising your Achilles tendon with the following moves can help lower your risk for complications:107

Calf Stretch — Stretch your calf until you feel a strong pull, but without pain. Without taking your heels off the ground, hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Do this move slowly and in a controlled manner 20 times on each foot.

Sitting Heel Raises — Sit on a chair and raise your toes as high as possible without pain, and slowly lower your heels. Do around 20 repetitions a day.

Bilateral Heel Drop — Stand on the edge of a staircase or stable raised platform. Place the front portion of your foot on the stair or platform so your heel can move up and down without hitting the surface. If you need support to balance, hold onto a railing or a sturdy item.

Once in place, lift your heels slowly off the ground and move them down as low as you can 20 times. If you're not comfortable with doing heel drops on your stairs, try starting on the floor.

Unilateral (Single Leg) Heel Drop — This is similar to the previous move, but entails bending one leg and using the other leg to perform the move. Start by lifting your heel off the ground and slowly bringing it down in a controlled manner. Afterward, perform this move with your other leg.

Doing Other Exercises May Also Help

Because tendonitis can affect various parts of the body, other moves can benefit and target a particular area. For instances, these exercises can work if you have wrist tendonitis:108

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Side to side
  • Wrist stretch
  • Wrist extension and wrist extension stretch
  • Wrist flexion and wrist flexion stretch
  • Forearm pronation and supination
  • Grip strengthening

Finger stretches, wrist flexor stretches and wrist flexor strengthening exercises can be effective for elbow tendonitis too.109

How to Make the Most Out of Your Exercises

If you were diagnosed with other types of tendonitis, consult a physical therapist to know more about exercises suitable for your condition and learn how to do the movements correctly to lessen tendon-related problems.110 Lastly, don't forget other tips when incorporating physical activity to address tendonitis:111

  • Stretch properly before and after a workout. Stretching lowers your risk for tendonitis and related injuries,112 and can enhance joints' range of motion and lessen trauma on tight tissues.113
  • Introduce new exercises or increase your repetitions slowly. If you exert too much effort, this increases tendon use.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and use the right equipment.

These Prevention Techniques May Help Lower Tendonitis Risk

Aside from the tips mentioned in the previous sections, these simple lifestyle tweaks, whether implemented at home or at work, may help reduce your tendonitis risk:114,115,116

Refrain from doing repetitive movements and doing activities that can increase stress on your tendons.

Do not stay in one position for long, especially if it feels uncomfortable.

Do things slowly, and gradually increase activity level when needed.

When doing a certain activity, stop immediately if you feel pain. Try again when you feel better, but if pain persists, refrain from continuing that activity.

Before playing sports or doing physical activities, strengthen your muscles so they are able to withstand increased stress and load.117

Conduct an ergonomic assessment of items at your workplace. Consider your height, arm length and usual tasks, and adjust items accordingly. By doing so, you can protect your joints and tendons from bearing excessive stress. You can also talk to your employer about preventive measures if your job requires you to perform repetitive movements.

Refrain from smoking and taking weight loss medicines like Orlistat and Xenical.118

What's the Ideal Diet for Tendonitis?

Implementing a healthy diet is crucial in combating tendonitis and promoting recovery. Some of the best foods for tendonitis include unrestricted quantities of fresh vegetables, high amounts of healthy fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter and animal-based omega-3 fats, and moderate portions of grass fed meats.

Fasting can also provide other benefits and enhance health-boosting effects of foods that you eat. While there are many fasting protocols that you can try, the most common way to fast would be consuming meals within eight hours in a day, while avoiding eating anything for the remainder of it.

Foods to Avoid if You Have Tendonitis

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with tendonitis, stay away from the following foods as they can exacerbate your condition:119

With Adequate Knowledge, You Can Prevent Tendonitis From Affecting You

Tendonitis causes excruciating pain on the body, and for some people, avoiding it is easier said than done because of the lifestyle that they have. As this guide has highlighted, preventing or addressing tendonitis doesn't require complicated changes, but rather simple tweaks to certain habits. If done frequently, you can reduce your tendonitis risk, or prevent it from becoming health-debilitating chronic tendonitis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Tendonitis

Q: What does a tendon connect?

A: Tendons are responsible for connecting muscles to bones.120

Q: What is the difference between ligaments and tendons?

A: Tendons and ligaments are tissues found in different parts of your body, although they differ in terms of parts they connect.121 Tendons join muscles to your bones and help promote proper body movement,122 while ligaments attach bones to each other and assist in joint support.123

Q: How do you get tendonitis?

A: You can develop tendonitis due to sudden major injuries or while doing jobs, hobbies or sports that involve repetitive motions for a long period of time.124,125

Q: What diseases cause tendonitis?

A: Diseases that may increase your tendonitis risk include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis or thyroid disorders.126

Q: Is tendonitis painful?

A: Pain is a common tendonitis symptom.127 Tendonitis pain can range from gradual to very painful, depending on the condition you were diagnosed with and its severity.

Q: Is tendonitis hereditary?

A: There isn't enough research to conclude a direct link between genetics and tendonitis, but according to authors of a 2017 Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine study, some genetic factors are linked to tendon injuries.128

Q: What is the difference between tendonitis and bursitis?

A: Tendonitis occurs when there is swelling and pain of tendons in your body.129,130,131 Bursitis is characterized by the presence of swollen bursa (plural form: bursae), especially at the knees or elbows. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones and muscles, tendons or skin.132

Q: Can tendonitis pain come and go?

A: Tendonitis pain can come and go if you don't make an effort to prevent recurrence. If you suffer with this condition, it's best to avoid smoking and performing repetitive movements. It's also important to strengthen muscles before doing physical activities and rest your body from time to time.133,134,135,136 This lessens the chances of tendonitis becoming a permanent condition that can greatly impact quality of life.

Q: How long does it take for tendonitis to heal?

A: According to WebMD, tendonitis usually heals within two to four weeks. For chronic tendonitis symptoms can last for more than six weeks.137

Q: How do you diagnose tendonitis?

A: Tendonitis diagnosis begins with a physical examination. In some cases, imaging texts like X-rays, ultrasounds or MRI are required to see tendonitis indicators.138 More specific tests for particular types of tendonitis may be done as well, namely:

The Finkelstein test (for De Quervain's tendonitis)139

The Speed's test or Yergason's test (for bicep tendonitis)140

Q: Does tendonitis require surgery?

A: Surgery may be needed if natural remedies fail to work or if the tendon has detached from the bone.141 If you're likely to undergo surgery, consult your doctor because some of these procedures can put you at risk for side effects or complications.

Q: Is heat or cold better for tendonitis?

A: Both may be useful in alleviating pain and swelling. Other possible treatment options for tendonitis include castor oil packs, acupuncture, ultrasonic treatment and resting.142,143,144,145

Q: Is omega-3 good for tendonitis?

A: Yes, as omega-3s possess anti-inflammatory capabilities that may help alleviate tendonitis symptoms. Increase your intake of omega-3s by consuming omega-3 rich foods or taking a high-quality supplement like krill oil.146

Q: Can you get rid of tendonitis using essential oils?

A: You can use essential oils to aid in minimizing tendonitis' effects, but not as a treatment that'll completely heal the condition. Essential oils that may work for tendonitis include wintergreen, birch, oregano, cypress, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint and helichrysum.147,148

Q: Is tendonitis a disability?

A: There's not enough information classifying tendonitis as a disability, but according to "Minor Injuries E-Book: A Clinical Guide," this condition CAN cause disability if not addressed immediately.149

+ Sources and References