Symptoms and Signs of Tendinitis (Tendonitis)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021

Doctor's Notes on Tendinitis (Tendonitis)

Tendinitis (also spelled tendonitis) is inflammation of the tendons, which are cords of tough, fibrous connective tissue that attach muscles to bones. The tendon sheath (the membrane that surrounds the tendon) may also be affected. A common cause of tendinitis is overuse and repetitive movement from sports or recreational and occupational activities. Other risk factors for developing tendinitis include trauma, thermal injury to the tendon, use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics [such as levofloxacin (Levaquin) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro)], and smoking. Tendinitis is also seen in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and diabetes.

Symptoms of tendinitis include pain over the affected tendon that usually worsens with repetitive motion, but it can also be present at rest. There may also be mild swelling over the tendon.

What Is the Treatment for Tendinitis?

The mainstay of treatment for tendinitis is to reduce pain and inflammation. In many cases, rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain anti-inflammatory medication may be all that is required. Medications can include ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin. In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections or injections of platelet-rich plasma may be used.

Physical therapy can be used to strengthen the muscle and tendon and enhance flexibility. In some cases, surgical procedures may be needed to repair a tendon. Other treatment modalities that have been demonstrated to help in more serious cases of tendinitis include ultrasound treatments to reduce scar tissue and dry needling of the involved tendon.

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.