June 2022 Newsletter


With the warmer temperatures signaling the start of summer, many of us are all getting outside more. You may find yourself taking longer walks, playing sports, and just doing more fun activities. An unintended consequence of this increase in activity may possibly be an "overuse" injury. The term tendinitis is often used to describe a type of injury where we've put the body through more than it can recover from. That term may not be the right word for it, but we will get to that in a moment. So, what is tendinitis? What can be done about it?

In this overview from their website, The Mayo Clinic defines tendinitis as an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, which is the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. It often presents as pain with movement, tenderness in one area, and with mild swelling. This can happen anywhere in the body but is common in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels. Often it is caused by repetitive activities and stresses; minor impact to the affected area; or from a sudden, serious injury.

Tendinitis actually describes the acute phase of a type of tendinopathy. It only lasts a short time. If left untreated, the tendon undergoes degenerative changes. Once the initial inflammation subsides and these degenerative changes go into effect it is then called a tendinosis. While the terms are similar, the two conditions may be treated very differently.

  • Tendinitis treatment – targeted at reducing inflammation and pain. This can include a reduction in specific activities, anti-inflammatory medications, icing the affected area, light exercise, and stretching
  • Tendinosis treatment – targeted on increasing circulation to promote tissue healing. This can include applying heat to the affected area, improving postural habits, stretching, eccentric exercises, and manual therapy

If you are interested in some of the finer points in how these two conditions are differentiated as well as treated, you can view this article featured through the National Institute of Health. Otherwise, your physical therapist or physician will help you navigate this. If you suspect you have this type of injury, seek out treatment sooner rather than later. You can also take steps to avoid your likelihood of getting tendinitis with tips like these provided by The Cleveland Clinic under the prevention header. They offer a good framework to keep in mind to keep yourself healthy and active, while minimizing the risk of developing a tendinopathy.