The inflammation or irritation of a tendon is known as tendinitis.  

The thick, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone are tendons. Tendinitis causes acute pain and tenderness in the tendons, making it difficult to move the affected joint. While tendinitis can occur in any of your tendons, it's most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels.  

Tendinitis is given various names depending on the location of the body where it develops. Some common names include: 

  • Tennis elbow 
  • Golfer's elbow 
  • Pitcher's shoulder 
  • Swimmer's shoulder 
  • Jumper's knee 

What Causes Tendinitis? 

Tendinitis is most often caused by overuse or repetitive movements. Most people develop tendinitis because their jobs or hobbies involve repetitive motions, ultimately putting stress on the tendons. Athletes who participate in certain sports, such as tennis, golf, bowling or basketball are at a higher risk of tendinitis. You may also be at a higher risk if your job requires physical exertion, overhead lifting or repetitive motions or tasks. In other cases, tendinitis may be caused by strain or injury, or rarely, can be related to a disease such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or infection. 

What Are the Symptoms of Tendinitis? 

Signs and symptoms of tendinitis tend to occur just outside a joint or where a tendon attaches to a bone. People with tendinitis often experience: 

  • Pain described as a dull ache, especially during or after movement of the affected area 
  • Swelling 
  • A grating feeling when moving the joint 

How Is Tendinitis Diagnosed? 

Tendinitis can usually be diagnosed through a physical exam alone. If necessary, though, imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs can be used to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. 

How Is Tendinitis Treated? 

Treatment for tendinitis is usually straightforward and can typically be addressed at home through: 

  • Resting or modifying movements 
  • Icing the area to reduce inflammation
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine 
  • Wearing a splint to limit movement 

If the tendinitis persists, additional measures may need to be taken, such as: 

  • Physical therapy 
  • Dry needling 
  • Ultrasonic treatment 
  • Surgery