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Tendons connect muscle to bone and help move joints. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. The injuries can include:
- Tendonitis—An inflammation of the tendon.
- Tendinosis—Micro tears in the tendon tissue with no significant inflammation
These injuries are more common in these tendons:
- Achilles tendon —back of heel
- Patellar tendon—attached to the kneecap
- Rotator cuff in the shoulder
- Biceps in the shoulder
- Wrist extensors near the elbow, on the outside
- Wrist flexors near the elbow, on the inside
- Quadriceps tendons
- Ankle tendons
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This problem is more common in women than in men. It is also more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:
- Doing any activity too much, such as:
- Physical labor
Physical problems, such as:
- Muscle imbalances
- Poor flexibility
- Being overweight
- Alignment problems in the leg(s)
Problems may be:
- Pain in the tendon or the area around it, often with activity
- Poor motion of related joints
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of the tendon and bone. This can be done with:
Treatment depends on the tendon and how badly it is damaged. Options are:
- Supportive care with rest and ice
- Using a cast, splint, or brace to support the tendon
- Shoe inserts
- Medicines to ease pain and swelling
- Physical therapy
To lower the risk of this problem:
- Slowly increase activities
- Stretch and strengthen the muscles that attach to a tendon
American College of Sports Medicine
FamilyDoctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2015;(6): CD007402.
Exercise-induced leg pain. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/basics%5Fexercise-induced-leg-pain.pdf?sfvrsn=8c62186b%5F2. Published 2016. Accessed July 28, 2020.
Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/patellar-tendinopathy . Updated May 16, 2019. Accessed July 28, 2020.
Patellar tendon tear. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512. Updated February 2016. Accessed July 28, 2020.
Schwartz A, Watson JN, et al. Patellar Tendinopathy. Sports Health. 2015 Sep;7(5):415-420.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
- Review Date: 03/2020
- Update Date: 07/28/2020