Tendon Injury

What is a tendon injury?

A tendon injury means that you have irritated or damaged the tough fibers that connect muscle to bone. Doctors may use different terms to describe these injuries. You may hear:

  • Tendinitis. This means "inflammation of the tendon."
  • Tendinosis. This refers to tiny tears in the tissue in and around the tendon caused by overuse.

Most experts now use the term tendinopathy to include both inflammation and tiny tears. But for many years, most tendon problems were called "tendinitis." Many doctors still use this familiar word to describe a tendon injury.


What are the symptoms of a tendon injury (tendinopathy)?

Symptoms of tendinopathy can include:

  • Pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling near the injured tendon. Pain may get worse when you're active. Symptoms may affect just the spot where the injured tendon is located, or they may be spread out from the joint area.
  • Crepitus, or a crunchy sound or feeling when the tendon is used. This is usually uncomfortable or painful.
  • Pain and stiffness that may be worse during the night or when you get up in the morning.
  • Stiffness in the joint near the affected area. Movement or mild exercise of the joint usually reduces the stiffness.

A tendon injury typically gets worse if the tendon isn't allowed to rest and heal. Too much movement may make your symptoms worse or bring the pain and stiffness back.

Knee Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons: Lateral View

Picture of the knee muscles, ligaments, and tendons (outer-side view)

This view of the outer side of the left knee shows the muscles, ligaments, and tendons commonly related to patellar tracking disorder.



Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.


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