Tendonitis can be caused by three things: over-use of a tendon, injury or ageing.
In a small number of cases, it can be associated with other inflammatory diseases
that attack the bones and joints in the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis or
One of the most common forms of tendonitis among people who engage in high-impact
sports is Achilles tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendon connecting
the calf muscle to the heel bone.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of tendonitis are pain and stiffness. Symptoms may be more
acute at night, or after vigorous exercise. There may also be swelling and tenderness
in the affected area.
How is it diagnosed?
Tendonitis is usually diagnosed on the basis of the history and physical signs.
An MRI scan can reveal any weakening of the tendon itself or changes in the
tendon sheath or covering however, due to the high cost of this specialised
examination it is not routinely performed.
What is the treatment?
Although anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered to reduce swelling and
inflammation, the most important form of treatment for tendonitis is: rest,
ice, immobilise and elevate. Tendonitis will get worse with continued use of
the inflamed tendon, so rest is vital. Temporary use of a splint may also help
to rest the tendon.
For those engaged in sport, it may be useful to get some form of physical therapy
such as massage or ultrasound for the affected area. Exercises which stretch
and strengthen the muscles are also helpful.
In repeated cases of chronic tendonitis, surgery may be considered.