What are Tendonitis & Tendonosis?

Tendonitis and tendonosis (sometimes spelled “tendinitis” and “tendinosis”) are two conditions that affect the tendons. Tendons are the cords of soft tissue that connect muscles to bone, enabling us to move. These conditions are sometimes mistaken for one another, and that’s understandable as they have several similarities, and untreated tendonitis can eventually become tendonosis. Here are the fundamental differences: Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon. It is a short-term condition that comes on suddenly and can be healed relatively quickly. Tendonosis refers to the damage and degeneration of a tendon. It is a long-term condition that comes on more gradually and is more serious than tendonitis.

What Causes Tendonitis & Tendonosis?

Tendonitis is often caused by an acute injury, such as when an athlete lands a jump the wrong way. The injury puts excessive force on a tendon and leaves it with tiny tears that cause inflammation.

Tendonosis is typically caused by overuse or repeated injuries over time. For example, when you overuse a tendon without giving it enough time to rest and heal.  As opposed to tears forming in the tendon, it involves the actual tissue of the tendon degrading, giving it a hard, thick, and scarred appearance.

In addition, there are several other risk factors that affect your chance of developing tendonosis:

  • Ageing
  • Certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and gout 
  • Irregular physical activity, such as playing sports only on the weekends

Signs and Symptoms of Tendonitis & Tendonosis

Tendonitis and tendonosis cause very similar symptoms, which makes it difficult to figure out which one you have. But there is one major difference: tendonitis usually causes redness and swelling while tendonosis does not.

Some of the symptoms of tendonitis and tendonosis include:

  • Tendon pain in the affected area, causing a joint to feel tender or stiff
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Pain that increases when you move the joint
  • A crackling sensation when moving the joint

Both conditions can occur in many areas of the body, but some of the most common include:

  • Outside of the elbow (also called “tennis elbow”)
  • Front of the knee (also called jumper’s knee)
  • Outside of the hip
  • The Achilles tendon at the back of the heel
  • The rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder

How is Tendonitis & Tendonosis Treated?

When it comes to relieving the tendon pain of both conditions, many of the same treatments can be used. That includes:

As for specific treatments for each condition, tendonitis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. And the treatment for tendonosis can include ways to replenish collagen within the tendon, such as through nutrition. For example, zinc, vitamin C, and manganese can help with collagen production.

Physiotherapy for Tendonitis & Tendonosis

Physiotherapy can be used to treat both conditions. It can significantly reduce the time to heal and help prevent future injuries.

At Activa Clinics, our physiotherapists create custom treatment plans. By speaking to you about your issues, making a physical exam, and using advanced diagnostics when needed, they can get to the root cause of your tendon pain.

Then they can combine a variety of therapies into your custom plan. That includes:

How to Prevent Tendonitis & Tendonosis

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing tendon issues.

  • Warm-up and stretch properly before and after exercise
  • Wear shoes that provide proper support
  • When performing repetitive tasks, take breaks regularly (whether to rest or alternate tasks)
  • Pay attention to your posture
  • When starting a new exercise routine or sport, start slow

Book an Appointment

If you think you may have one of these tendon injuries, you should get it checked out. Getting treatment from a medical professional can relieve your pain, speed up the healing process, and prevent future issues.