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Tendonitis Content Supplied by NHS Choices

Tendonitis is a term often used to describe an inflamed and painful tendon.

However, tendon pain can also be caused by small tears in the surrounding tissue or the gradual deterioration of a tendon where it connects to the bone. This type of tendon pain is often referred to as 'tendinopathy'.

Tendon pain can affect tendons around the:

  • shoulder
  • elbow
  • wrist
  • finger
  • thigh
  • knee
  • back of the heel

Read more about symptoms of tendonitis.

What causes tendonitis?

Two common causes are:

For reasons not fully understood, tendonitis occurs more often in people with diabetes.

Read more about the causes of tendonitis.

Treating tendonitis

In many cases, a painful tendon will get better after a few days.

You should stop doing the exercise or activity that caused your symptoms. Self-help techniques, such as rest, painkillers and ice packs, can often help relieve tendonitis.

More persistent cases of tendonitis may need to be treated with physiotherapycorticosteroid injections or shock wave therapy.

Surgery may be recommended to treat some cases of long-term tendon pain, such as Achilles tendinopathy or tennis elbow, that have not improved following treatment.

Read more about treating tendonitis.

Preventing tendonitis

If you play sport or exercise regularly, you should warm up properly before you start to prepare your body for more vigorous activity and help avoid injury. It is also important you cool down and stretch after you finish.

Read more about how to warm up before exercising and how to stretch after exercising.

If you have had tendonitis in the past from exercising or playing sport, you may be able to make changes to prevent it reoccurring. For example, you may need to use different equipment or seek the advice of a coach about changing or improving your technique.

Read more about preventing tendonitis.

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