Robert E. Leach, MD
Tendons connect muscle to bone and help move joints. Tendonopathy is an injury to the tendon. These injuries tend to occur in tendons near joints such as the knee, shoulder, and ankle. The injuries can include:
The following tendons are often involved:
Tendinopathy is caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. The strain on the tendon causes tiny tears that build up over time. There can also be inflammation.
These tears cause pain and can eventually change the structure of the tendon.
Tendinopathy is more common in women than in men. It is also more common in older adults. Factors that may increase your chance of getting tendinopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of the tendon and bone.
This can be done with:
Treatment depends on:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Options may include:
The tendon will need time to heal. Supportive care may include:
Prescription or over-the-counter medication may be advised to reduce pain. Cortisone injections may be used if other treatments do not alleviate pain.
A physical therapist will assess the tendon. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.
To prevent tendinopathy:
American College of Sports Medicine
FamilyDoctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
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http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exercis-inducedlegpain.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2015.
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Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 18, 2014. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Patellar tendon tear. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512. Updated August 2009. Accessed March 9, 2015.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults.
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4/24/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Wise JN, Weissman BN, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ChronicFootPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Last reviewed March 2015 by
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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