What is tendinitis?

Tendinitis (or tendonitis) is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are pieces of connective tissue between muscles and bones. Tendinitis can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) in nature.

Who gets tendinitis?

Anyone can get tendinitis. However, it's more common in those who do repetitive activities. Some of these activities include:

  • Gardening/landscaping.
  • Woodworking.
  • Shoveling.
  • Painting.
  • Scrubbing.
  • Tennis, golf, skiing, baseball (throwing and pitching).

Other risk factors for tendinitis include:

  • Poor posture at work or home.
  • Presence of certain diseases that can weaken muscles. These diseases can include:
  • Adults 40 years of age and older. As tendons age, they tolerate less stress, are less elastic and tear more easily.
  • Medications (rare occurrence) that can cause tendons to tear. These medications can include:
    • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin [Cipro®] and norfloxacin [Noroxin®]).
    • Statins (drugs that lower cholesterol).

Where does tendinitis occur?

Tendinitis can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. The most common places are:

  • Base of the thumb.
  • Elbow.
  • Shoulder.
  • Hip.
  • Knee.
  • Achilles tendon (connects the calf muscles to the heel bone).

What causes tendinitis?

Tendinitis most often is caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden, more serious injury.

What are the symptoms of tendinitis?

One of the main symptoms of tendinitis is pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area. Pain may be a gradual buildup or sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/12/2020.

References

  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Tendinitis. Accessed 2/12/2020.
  • Arthritis Foundation. Tendinitis. Accessed 2/12/2020.
  • American College of Rheumatology. Tendinitis (Bursitis). Accessed 2/12/2020.

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