Tendons connect muscle to bone and help move joints. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. These injuries tend to occur in tendons near joints such as knee, shoulder, and ankle. The injuries can include:
The following tendons are often involved:
Tendinopathy and the associated pain may take months to resolve. You may need medication for pain relief.
Tendinopathy is caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. The strain on the tendon causes very tiny tears that accumulate over time. There can also be inflammation.
These tears cause pain and can eventually change the structure of the tendon.
Tendinopathy is more common in women than in men. Factors that may increase your chance of getting tendinopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may need some images of the tendon and bone. Imaging tests may include:
Treatment depends on:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:
Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend exercises or a rehabilitation program.
To manage pain or swelling, your doctor may recommend:
To prevent tendinopathy:
American College of Sports Medicine
FamilyDoctor.org - American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Exercise-induced leg pain. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exercis-inducedlegpain.pdf. Accessed March 18, 2013.
Mayor RB. Treatment of athletic tendinopathy. Conn Med. 2012;76(8):471-475.
Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 3, 2012. Accessed March 18, 2013.
Patellar tendon tear. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512. Updated August 2009. Accessed March 18, 2013.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
4/24/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Wise JN, Weissman BN, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ChronicFootPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed April 24, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.