Tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation of a tendon, a thick cord that connects bone to muscle. The condition can affect any one of the tendons that attach bones to muscles around the joints, but it is most frequent in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. Tendonitis causes pain and tenderness near the affected joint and can make the joint stiff and difficult to move.

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Causes: Age & Repetitive Movement

Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive motions or overuse of the joint. This can occur with sports that involve throwing, such as baseball, football, or tennis. Other activities that can lead to tendonitis include gardening, raking, and carpentry. Age-related changes in the tendons can also cause tendonitis.

In some cases, an injury or direct blow to the area can cause tend0nitis. This is most common in the shoulder or elbow.

When You Should See a Doctor

If you have pain, swelling, or tenderness in a joint or muscle, see your doctor. He or she will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she will also examine the affected area. X-rays may be used to rule out other conditions, such as arthritis. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend medications or physical therapy to help relieve pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissue and repair the affected joint or tendon.

Symptoms & Prevention

Symptoms of Tendonitis

The symptoms of tendonitis depend on the location of the inflamed tendon. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain: This is the most common symptom of tendonitis. The pain is usually worse with movement and may be accompanied by aching or stiffness.
  • Swelling: The tendons around the affected joint may appear swollen or lumpy.
  • Tenderness: The area around the affected joint is usually tender to the touch.
  • Difficulty moving the joint: The joint may feel stiff and be difficult to move.



There are several things you can do to prevent tendonitis, including:

  • Warm up before participating in any physical activity.
  • Stretch regularly.
  • Avoid activities that put too much stress on the joints.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Rest the joint when you feel pain or tenderness.
  • Ice the affected area for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day.
  • Wear supportive shoes.

Treatment for Tendonitis

Tendonitis is treated with a combination of rest, ice, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged tendon.

Rest: You should avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms. This will give the inflamed tendon time to heal.

Ice: Applying ice to the affected area for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day will help reduce pain and swelling.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist can show you exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the affected joint. This can help relieve symptoms and prevent recurrence.

Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged tendon.