Does Tendinitis Exist?

Problems with tendons develop in response to overuse or overloading. Historically, the term Tendinitis has been used to describe inflammation of the tendons in response to this overload. This results in redness, swelling and heat as the body’s inflammatory process kicks in! It can affect multiple sites across the body, the most common being shoulders, elbows, knees and heels.

However, more recent evidence suggests that there is in fact little or no inflammation found in painful tendons. The condition has therefore been given a new name. It is now called a Tendinopathy, or Tendinosis.

Tendinosis is a degenerative injury which does not create an inflammatory response in the tendon. Tendinosis is caused by the destruction of collagen fibres and the thickening of the tendon. This worsens with repeated overuse Tendinosis can be broken down into 3 main stages:

1. Reactive Tendinopathy – commonly seen in acutely overloaded tendons or caused by direct trauma e.g. often seen in runners who have rapidly increased their distance or training type and reduced their number of rest days, this may affect the Achilles tendon.

2. Tendon Disrepair – a worsening pathology, fewer collagen fibres and evident thickening of the tendon e.g. continued overuse and overloading of Long head of Biceps, without necessary rest and reduced load, often seen in painters.

3. Degenerative Tendinopathy – chronic tendon pain with significant vascular changes and increased tendon size, this often requires surgery e.g. overload of tendon for prolonged period of time, often months or years, this can affect the Patella tendon.

If you are experiencing a tendon pathology, we can help! At Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy, we offer a wide range of treatments that can affectively treat tendinopathies and prevent future recurrence. Our support can enable you to return to the activities you love.