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What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis is when the tendons that connect your muscles to your bones become irritated and inflamed, causing you pain.

It can be caused by repetitive movements, wear and tear over time, or by a sudden injury.

Tendonitis can occur in any tendon of your body, but it most commonly affects the knees, elbows, hands. heels, wrists and shoulders.

Tendonitis symptoms

The symptoms of tendonitis can be mild or severe, depending on the area affected, and what has caused it.

Likewise, the symptoms can vary from person to person to person. You may have:

  • A sharp pain or a dull ache, which may develop suddenly or over time
  • Inflammation in the joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Weakness in the joint
  • You may be unable to move the affected joint
  • A popping or crunching noise or feeling when moving the affected joint

Read a full list of tendonitis symptoms.

Tendonitis diagnosis

There are a number of conditions that can cause you to have pain in your joints or tendons.

If the pain is only mild, you should recover within a couple of weeks without the need to see a GP. However, if the pain is severe, if the tendon is not healing, or if you think you may have ruptured a tendon, you should speak to a GP.

The doctor will normally be able to diagnose tendonitis by going through your symptoms and looking at the affected joint, which they can do over a video consultation.

For more information about what will happen in your consultation, click here.

Tendonitis causes

You may have tendon pain due to a variety of the reasons, but the most common causes are over-use or a sudden injury.

Read more about the causes for tendonitis.

Tendonitis treatment

Tendonitis is usually a short term problem, and symptoms should get better after a few weeks,if it’s mild, to a few months if it is more severe.

The main treatment options for tendonitis are:

  • Painkillers
  • ice or heat packs
  • Compression bandages
  • Rest and elevation

If the tendonitis is more severe, you may be recommended:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgery

You may need a prescription for stronger pain medication if the pain is severe, to cope with pain.

In order for it to be effective, your treatment will be tailored to you. This is why it helps our doctors to have as much information as you can provide. Let the doctor know if certain activities make the pain worse or if you have had the problem for more than a few weeks. Find out more about how tendonitis can be treated.