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Tendonitis Symptoms: Here's What You Need to Know

Tendonitis Symptoms: Here's What You Need to Know

What is tendonitis? What are tendonitis symptoms?

Tendonitis, or tendinitis, is a condition that occurs when a tendon in the body becomes inflamed or irritated. Tendonitis symptoms primarily involve pain and tenderness at the joint. These are felt mostly in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels. The pain can be short-term or long-term and can happen to anyone involved in repetitive activities.

Tendonitis conditions are often named for the bone or joint they affect and the activity that caused it, like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, pitcher’s shoulder, swimmer’s shoulder and jumper’s knee. A well-known form of tendonitis is called Achilles tendinitis, as it affects the tendon of the Achilles’ heel. This particular tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

This condition can often be alleviated or treated with rest, pain and inflammation medication, or in some cases physical therapy.

Tendonitis symptoms: Causes

Tendons are the fibrous rope-like cords consisting of collagen which connects muscle to bone. Tendons have blood vessels that are there for tendon health and repair. When a muscle contracts, it pulls on the tendon, which in turn moves the bone it is attached to.

Tendonitis symptoms appear in people doing anything physically repetitive. These activities may be what they do for a living or something they do as a hobby or exercise. It can also occur due to injuries, particularly while engaging in sports. For this reason, it is important to master the proper technique of any workout or sport.

If the condition develops into tendon rupture, the patient may need surgery. Tendinosis, meanwhile, can develop over weeks or months, which can lead to the deterioration of the tendon as well as abnormal blood vessel growth.

Tendonitis symptoms: What to watch out for

Tendonitis symptoms include:

  • Dull pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling near or at the joint, especially when moving it

Risks and complications

Some factors make some people more at risk of developing tendonitis:

Regularly engages in physical activities with repetitive motions

The risk is higher for people engaging in activities such as gardening, woodworking, shoveling, scrubbing, working out, and even painting (due to the wrist movement).

Bad posture

People with poor posture may also experience tendonitis symptoms. Bad posture strains the muscles or ligaments while moving, or completing weight-bearing activities, and contributes to the wearing out of joint surfaces.

Muscle disease

Tendonitis can also happen to people who are afflicted with diseases affecting the muscles, for instance, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and pseudogout.


Age is also another factor—those 40 years old and above are more prone to such symptoms since their tendons cannot handle as much stress. They also lose their elasticity, making them more prone to tears.


Some drugs, however rarely, can cause tendonitis, particularly fluoroquinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin.

How Good Posture Can Benefit Your Health

Tendonitis symptoms: Treatment

The primary treatment is usually rest and icing of the affected area. The patient may also take over-the-counter pain and inflammation medication.

If the tendonitis is more advanced, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to address the inflammation and pain. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy to improve your range of motion. Your may also use a splint to immobilize the joint or bone.


To avoid tendonitis, it is advisable to:

  • Move every so often to not remain in the same position for very long
  • Improve posture
  • Practice proper technique and form when playing sports or exercising
  • Consider switching to activities which do not put pressure on the joints
  • Stretch to relax tight tissues
  • Improve workplace ergonomics such that your chair, computer keyboard, and desk are at your height and arm length.

Key takeaway

Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, the tissue which attaches bone and muscle. Repetitive activities or injuries may cause tendonitis. Tendonitis symptoms include swelling, pain and tenderness near or at the joint. Tendonitis is more likely to happen in older individuals and those who engage in activities that stress or strain the muscles or joints. Most of the time, rest, medication and icing the area can make it go away. In more serious cases, they may need steroids, surgery, or physical therapy.

Learn about Musculoskeletal Pain here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Louise Nichole Logarta Updated May 22
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel