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  • Writer's pictureAndray Voronov

The Difference Between Tendonitis and Tendinosis: A Comprehensive Guide

Tendon injury rehab with an osteopath in narre warren


Tendon-related injuries are common, particularly among athletes and physically active individuals. However, understanding the distinctions between tendonitis and tendinosis is crucial for effective treatment and recovery. This comprehensive guide explores the differences between these two conditions, their characteristics, treatments, and recovery timelines, supported by the latest research. If you're seeking treatment, finding an osteopath near you, especially in Narre Warren or Berwick, can be highly beneficial.

Understanding Tendonitis

Tendonitis, also spelled tendinitis, is an acute condition characterised by inflammation of the tendons, the fibrous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. Tendonitis typically results from overuse or sudden injury. Consulting an osteopath near you, particularly an osteopath in Narre Warren or Berwick, can provide effective treatment options.

Characteristics of Tendonitis

  • Inflammation: Visible swelling around the affected tendon.

  • Pain: Sharp, acute pain that worsens with movement.

  • Warmth and Redness: The area may feel warm and appear red.

  • Limited Mobility: Difficulty moving the affected joint.

Causes of Tendonitis

  • Repetitive Motion: Common in sports like tennis or occupations that involve repetitive tasks.

  • Injury: Sudden, acute injuries can lead to inflammation.

  • Age: Tendons lose elasticity with age, increasing the risk of tendonitis.

  • Improper Technique: Poor technique in physical activities can strain tendons.

Symptoms of Tendonitis

  • Pain: Localised pain, often described as a dull ache.

  • Swelling: Noticeable swelling around the affected area.

  • Tenderness: The tendon is sensitive to touch.

  • Stiffness: Especially in the morning or after inactivity.

Diagnosing Tendonitis

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and patient history. Imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm inflammation and rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options for Tendonitis

  • Rest: Essential to avoid further strain.

  • Ice: Reduces swelling and numbs pain.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: NSAIDs can help manage pain and inflammation.

  • Physical Therapy: Strengthening and stretching exercises.

  • Corticosteroid Injections: For severe cases, to reduce inflammation.

  • Osteopathy: Visiting an osteopath in Narre Warren or Berwick can offer holistic treatment options.

Recovery Timeline for Tendonitis

Recovery from tendonitis varies but typically spans from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity and treatment adherence. Rest and proper treatment, potentially guided by an osteopath near you, can expedite recovery.

Understanding Tendinosis

Tendinosis is a chronic condition characterised by the degeneration of the tendon’s collagen in response to chronic overuse without sufficient healing time. Unlike tendonitis, tendinosis involves little to no inflammation.

Characteristics of Tendinosis

  • Degeneration: Breakdown of tendon fibres.

  • Chronic Pain: Persistent pain that worsens with activity.

  • Nodules: Small lumps may form along the tendon.

  • Stiffness: Chronic stiffness, especially after rest.

Causes of Tendinosis

  • Overuse: Repetitive strain without adequate recovery.

  • Age-Related Degeneration: Tendons naturally degenerate with age.

  • Poor Blood Supply: Tendons have limited blood supply, hindering repair.

Symptoms of Tendinosis

  • Chronic Pain: Persistent, often dull or burning pain.

  • Tenderness: Along the affected tendon.

  • Thickening: The tendon may appear thicker.

  • Stiffness: Particularly in the morning or after rest.

Diagnosing Tendinosis

Diagnosis involves a detailed physical examination and patient history. Imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound can reveal tendon degeneration and rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options for Tendinosis

  • Rest and Modification of Activity: Essential to avoid further damage.

  • Physical Therapy: Specific exercises to strengthen and heal the tendon.

  • Eccentric Exercises: Proven to aid in tendon repair.

  • Shockwave Therapy: Promotes healing through sound waves.

  • Nutritional Support: Supplements like collagen or vitamin C may support tendon health.

  • Osteopathy: An osteopath in Narre Warren or Berwick can provide specialised treatments to manage tendinosis.

Recovery Timeline for Tendinosis

Recovery from tendinosis can be prolonged, often taking several months. Consistent and appropriate treatment, possibly with the guidance of an osteopath near you, is key to managing and eventually overcoming the condition.

Tendonitis vs. Tendinosis: Key Differences

  • Nature of the Condition: Tendonitis is inflammatory; tendinosis is degenerative.

  • Onset: Tendonitis is acute; tendinosis is chronic.

  • Pain: Tendonitis presents sharp, acute pain; tendinosis involves persistent, dull pain.

  • Treatment: Tendonitis responds to anti-inflammatory treatments; tendinosis requires regenerative treatments.

Common Misconceptions

  • Inflammation in Tendinosis: Unlike tendonitis, tendinosis does not involve significant inflammation.

  • Rest as a Sole Treatment: Rest is crucial but not sufficient alone for tendinosis; specific therapies are necessary.

Preventative Measures

  • Proper Technique: Ensuring correct technique in physical activities.

  • Regular Rest: Incorporating rest periods to prevent overuse.

  • Strengthening Exercises: Regularly strengthening the muscles and tendons.

  • Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Essential to prepare the tendons for activity.

Living with Tendon Issues

Managing tendon issues involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, ongoing therapy, and patience. It is crucial to listen to one’s body and avoid pushing through pain, which can exacerbate the condition. Consulting an osteopath near you, especially in Narre Warren or Berwick, can provide personalised care and management strategies.


What is the main difference between tendonitis and tendinosis?Tendonitis is an acute inflammatory condition, whereas tendinosis is a chronic degenerative condition without significant inflammation.

How can I prevent tendonitis?Preventing tendonitis involves proper technique, regular rest, and strengthening exercises to avoid repetitive strain.

Is tendinosis permanent?Tendinosis can be managed and often improved with appropriate treatment, but recovery can be lengthy and requires dedication.

What treatments are effective for tendinosis?Effective treatments for tendinosis include physical therapy, eccentric exercises, shockwave therapy, and nutritional support. An osteopath in Berwick or Narre Warren can provide additional treatment options.

Can tendonitis turn into tendinosis?Yes, if tendonitis is not properly treated, it can lead to chronic degeneration, resulting in tendinosis.

Are there any natural remedies for tendonitis and tendinosis?Natural remedies such as ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory diets can help manage symptoms, but professional medical advice is crucial. Consulting an osteopath near you can also offer natural and holistic treatment options.

Understanding the difference between tendonitis and tendinosis is essential for effective treatment and recovery. While tendonitis is characterised by acute inflammation, tendinosis involves chronic degeneration. Both conditions require distinct approaches to treatment and recovery. By recognising the symptoms and seeking appropriate care, individuals can manage these conditions and maintain an active lifestyle. For those in specific regions, finding an osteopath in Narre Warren or Berwick can provide specialised care and support.

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