What Are the 4 Symptoms of Tendonitis?

Medically Reviewed on 10/19/2022
What Are the 4 Symptoms of Tendonitis
The main symptoms of tendonitis include pain, swelling, tenderness, and popping sounds

Symptoms of tendonitis typically include pain, swelling, tenderness, and popping sounds:

  • Pain: Pain in the afflicted joint is the most typical symptom of tendonitis. Pain frequently occurs around the elbow or ankle, such as in cases of tennis or golfer's elbow or Achilles tendonitis.
  • Swelling: There may be swelling or redness around the affected tendon which may be more obvious with frequent movement. People with jobs that require regular use of the wrists or shoulders may find it difficult to rest the tendon during flare-ups.
  • Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to the touch, and moving often worsens the discomfort.
  • Popping sounds: Tendonitis can occasionally cause people to feel a crackling or grating sensation. This is typical in cases of trigger finger, which occurs when the tendon sheath in the palm becomes so inflamed that the affected person is unable to straighten their finger or thumb. Instead, the finger remains stuck in a bent position, and when the joint is straightened, a clicking or grating sound may be heard.

What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated. Tendonitis can affect any of your tendons although it most frequently affects the joints in and around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels.

Rest, physical therapy, and painkillers are effective treatment options for tendonitis in most cases. Surgery may be required if the tendon ruptures in severe cases.

Speak with a doctor right away if the pain persists for more than a few days and is accompanied by a clear decrease in the range of motion. These symptoms may point to a ruptured tendon, which necessitates urgent medical care.

What causes tendonitis?

Tendonitis typically affects tendons that are frequently subjected to injuries and repeated movements. Tendonitis is often caused by:

  • Sudden or jarring movements (heavy lifting, throwing a baseball)
  • Severe or atypical movements (dancing, serving a tennis ball)
  • Ineffective body mechanics when engaging in physical activity 

Overusing a tendon while working, or participating in sports. or engaging in other daily activities that require repetitive movements are the most common causes of chronic tendonitis. 

Additionally, tendonitis can result from a direct injury, such as a hit to the tendon.

What are the risk factors for tendonitis?

Risk factors for tendonitis include:

  • Age: Tendons become stiffer with age, making them more prone to damage
  • Occupation: People are more likely to sustain overuse injuries if their line of work requires repetitive movements
  • Sports: Repetitive movements in sports such as tennis, golf, and running can cause tendonitis.
  • Medical disorders: People with gout and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to experience tendonitis.


Pictures of the 7 Riskiest Workout Moves, and How to Improve Them See Slideshow

How is tendonitis diagnosed?

In order to make a diagnosis of tendonitis, a medical practitioner will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical examination.

They may move the injured tendon very gently to detect soreness or a cracking sound which indicates that the tendon sheath may be thickened and inflamed.

Calcium deposits near the tendon can be seen on an X-ray, which could support a diagnosis. The tendon sheath may be found to be swollen via other imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI scans.

What is the treatment of tendonitis?

Your doctor may suggest therapy to maintain mobility while reducing pain and inflammation. Specialized care from a rheumatologist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist may be necessary for severe symptoms. Most tendonitis cases don't lead to lasting joint damage or disability when they are properly treated. 

Treatment options for tendonitis include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation: Many soft tissue disorders are brought on by muscle overuse; therefore, the first course of treatment may involve rest, cold packs, a compression bandage, and elevation of the affected area.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists may administer hot or cold treatments, ultrasound (sound wave) therapy, laser and water therapy, soft tissue or joint mobilization (manual therapy), orthotics or pressure-relieving devices, a customized exercise program, analysis of posture and walking, and education regarding appropriate activities. 
  • Occupational therapy: To prevent re-injury and make daily tasks easier, an occupational therapist may recommend assistive equipment and adaptations for daily activities and work habits. Wearing splints, braces, or slings may be worn to rest the tendon until the pain subsides.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications: These medications include painkillers (analgesics) such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, which can be found in pill, gel, cream, patch, or lotion form.
  • Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroids may be injected right into the affected area to reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be done in severe cases such as a ruptured tendon. 

How to prevent tendonitis

Tendonitis is a common condition that may not always be possible to avoid. However, you can lower your risk of developing the condition by:

  • Doing warm-ups before exercise
  • Gradually increasing the intensity of a workout
  • Engaging in regular physical activity and muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Performing exercises with proper form
  • Ensuring that shoes and equipment fit properly
  • Stopping if a movement hurts
  • Taking regular breaks while performing tasks that involve repetitive movements
Medically Reviewed on 10/19/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Tendonitis https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10919-tendonitis

Tendonitis / tendonitis https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_tendonitis.asp

Tendonitis https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tendonitis

tendonitis https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/tendonitis