Enthesitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Medically Reviewed on 2/27/2017

Enthesitis is inflammation of the entheses, the specific point where tendons or ligaments attach to bone. Enthesitis causes symptoms like

  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • tenderness,
  • stiffness, and
  • warmth in the areas of the affected, inflamed tendon or ligament.

This can lead to localized dysfunction of movement. For example, Achilles tendinitis is a form of enthesitis that can cause pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle. This can cause limping and inability to run or jump. Plantar fasciitis is also a form of enthesitis that causes inflammation of the bottom of the foot and can cause limping.

Enthesopathy is simply any abnormality of the entheses, the specific point where tendons or ligaments attach to bone. Both enthesitis and enthesopathy can be caused by injury or diseases.

Enthesopathy and enthesitis causes

Enthesitis and enthesopathy can be caused by injury from trauma (such as from athletic activity like running, jumping, sprinting, or turf toe), gout, psoriatic arthritis, Achilles tendinitis, reactive arthritis, de Quervain's tenosynovitis, ankylosing spondylitis (spondyloarthropathy), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), and rheumatoid arthritis.


Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.