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Tendonitis (Tendinitis) | Tendinosis

Two of the significant conditions that people experience with tendons are tendonitis and tendinosis. Although they have similar-sounding names, they are often confused with each other. Each reflects a distinct condition with a tendon, requiring different treatments.

Tendonitis (Tendinitis)

Many of us have heard of tendonitis, also commonly known as tendinitis. Tendons are the tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When those tendons become irritated, they can become inflamed.

The result is swelling, pain, and discomfort. Tendons with this condition don’t have any microscopic damage when inspected by ultrasound. The underlying issue with tendonitis is overuse leading to inflammation.

Tendinosis

Tendinosis is primarily a degeneration of tendon tissue, although it may also involve inflammation in some cases. It is a long-term condition where the tendon is chronically damaged and weakened. Tendinosis results in a breakdown of the tendon’s collagen – which is the primary structural protein of skin, tendons and other connective tissue.

This degeneration results from chronic, continued overuse without rest to permit healing. Ultrasound or an MRI scan can distinguish the chronic degenerative changes of tendinosis from tendonitis’s swelling and inflammation.

Treatment for Tendonitis (Tendinitis)

Treating tendonitis involves treating the inflammation of tendon tissue, which is the underlying problem. Typically, you can recover from tendonitis in several days to six weeks.

Treatments of tendonitis may include:

  • Resting the affected tendon and joint, avoiding the repetitive motion that originally caused the pain.
  • Icing the injury to reduce inflammation
  • Short-term use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
  • A splint, brace, or orthotics

If the pain persists, however, you should make an appointment with your musculoskeletal health care specialist. They may determine that a corticosteroid injection may be the right treatment to decrease the inflammation and relieve the condition. This may be coupled with physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the tendons and muscles and preserve range of motion.

Treatment for Tendinosis

Treating tendinosis involves treating the degeneration of tendon tissue, which is the underlying problem. When diagnosed at an early stage, tendinosis can be treated in six to 10 weeks. But once it reaches a chronic stage, treatment can take three to six months. Tendons take a long time to heal because the blood supply to tendons is typically low.

Treatments and maintenance of tendinosis may include:

  • Resting the affected tendon and joint, avoiding the repetitive motion that originally caused the pain.
  • Icing the injury to reduce inflammation
  • A splint, brace, or orthotics
  • A physical therapy program to stretch the tendon and strengthen the surrounding muscles
  • If pain persists, PRP therapy may be effective in stimulating a healing response.

 

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