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Related to tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis




Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon, a tough rope-like tissue that connects muscle to bone.


Tendinitis usually occurs in individuals in middle or old age because it is often the result of overuse over a long period of time. Tendinitis does occur in younger patients as a result of acute overuse.
tendons that commonly become inflamed include:
  • tendons of the hand
  • tendons of the upper arm that effect the shoulder
  • achilles tendon and the tendon that runs across the top of the foot

Causes and symptoms

Sudden stretching or repeated overuse injures the connection between the tendon and its bone or muscle. The injury is largely mechanical, but when it appears, the body tries to heal it by initiating inflammation. Inflammation increases the blood supply, bringing nutrients to the damaged tissues along with immunogenic agents to combat infection. The result is swelling, tenderness, pain, heat, and redness if the inflammation is close to the skin.


Some tendon injuries are superficial and easy to identify. These include "tennis elbow" (extensor tendinitis) over the outside of the elbow, and Achilles' tendinitis just above the heel of the foot. There are several tendons in the shoulder that can be overused or stretched, and usually a shoulder will have more than one injury at a time. Tendinitis in the biceps, the infraspinatus, or the supraspinatus tendon may accompany a tear of the shoulder ligaments or an impingement of one bone or another. Careful pressure testing and movement of the parts is all that is necessary to identify the tendinitis.


Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) will treat the acute condition. The best way to apply ice is in a bag with water. The water applies the cold directly to the skin. Chemical ice packs can get too cold and cause frostbite. Compression using an elastic wrap minimizes swelling and bleeding in an acute sprain. Splinting may help rest the limb. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen) will help. Sometimes the inflammation lingers and requires additional treatment. Injections of cortisone-like medicine often relieve chronic tendinitis, but should be reserved for resistant cases since cortisone can occasionally cause problems of its own.
If tendinitis is persistent and unresponsive to non-surgical treatment, a surgery to remove the afflicted portion of tendon can be performed. Surgery is also conducted to remove calcium buildup that comes with persistent tendinitis.

Alternative treatment

An osteopathic soft-tissue treatment on the tendon may relieve pain and increase mobility. Increasing intake of antioxidant-rich foods and lowering intake of animal fats may help reduce the inflammation. Acupuncture has also been used to combat tendinitis. Hydrotherapies, such as whirlpool baths, help relax the surrounding muscles.


Generally, tendinitis will heal if the provoking activity is stopped.


If given enough time, tendons will strengthen to meet the demands placed on them. They grow slowly because of their poor blood supply, so adequate time is required for good conditioning.



Gilliland, Bruce C. "Relapsing Polychondritis and Other Arthritides." In Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, edited by Anthony S. Fauci, et al. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Key terms

Biceps — The muscle in the front of the upper arm.
Infraspinatus — A muscle at the middle of the shoulder blade.
Supraspinatus — A muscle at the top of the shoulder blade.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


inflammation of tendons and of tendon-muscle attachments, one of the most common causes of acute pain in the shoulder. It is frequently associated with a calcium deposit (calcific tendinitis), which may also involve the bursa around the tendon or near the joint, causing bursitis. Shoulder pain associated with calcific tendinitis is most pronounced when the affected arm is abducted between 50 and 130 degrees (the so-called painful arc). Called also tendonitis.

Short-term therapy is aimed at relieving pain and decreasing inflammation so that exercise is possible and permanent immobility of the shoulder is avoided. Medications that may be given include long-acting corticosteroids, given by injection directly into the painful area; short-term analgesics such as codeine or acetaminophen with codeine; and oral antiinflammatory agents. Applications of ice are more helpful in relieving pain than applications of heat, which usually aggravate the pain of calcific tendinitis. Once the patient is free of pain, exercise is begun to preserve motion. If the joint becomes fixed, surgical intervention may be necessary to break up adhesions and restore full mobility to the joint.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(ten'di-nī'tis), Because this word is based on the Latin word tendo, with a genitive singular form of tendinis and a combining form that is therefore tendin(o), the spelling tendonitis is irregular.
Inflammation of a tendon.
Synonym(s): tendonitis, tenonitis (2)
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012




Inflammation of a tendon.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Tendonitis Orthopedics Inflammation, tearing, tightness, or weakness in the tendons at the point of attachment of muscle to bone–eg, of the elbow, knee, which may restrict or inhibit adduction, abduction, supination Management RICE–rest, ice, compression, elevation, NSAIDs. See Achilles tendinitis, Bicipital tendinitis, Crossover tendinitis, Golf elbow, Tennis elbow.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(ten'di-nī'tis )
Inflammation of a tendon.
Synonym(s): tendonitis, tenonitis (2) , tenontitis, tenositis.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Inflammation of a TENDON, usually from injury.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


(ten'di-nī'tis )
Inflammation of a tendon.
Synonym(s): tendonitis, tenonitis (2) , tenontitis, tenositis.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
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Numerous methods can be used for diagnosing biceps tendinitis. Patients with biceps tendinitis often complain of a deep, throbbing pain in the anterior shoulder that is intensified when lifting.
If you have tendinitis, the fact that you don't play much tennis simply means that you probably developed the elbow problem in other ways.