Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed, and it is usually caused by repetitive use of a joint or by a sudden injury.
The symptoms of tendonitis can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. Depending on which tendon is affected, and whether it’s caused by an injury, or repetitive movement, your symptoms may include:
- Pain in the affected area - it could be sharp or a dull ache, and develop suddenly or over time
- Pain that gets worse when you move
- Inflammation in the joint
- Stiffness in the joint
- Weakness in the joint
- A lump on the affected area
- Redness or swelling
- You may be unable to move the affected joint
- A popping or crunching noise or feeling when moving the affected joint
Different types of tendonitis
A number different tendons can be affected by tendonitis, and some of the more common ones have their own names, which include:
- Tennis or golfers elbow (lateral epicondylitis) - this is where you have inflammation in the tendon on the outer-side of your elbow.
- Supraspinatus tendonitis- when the tendon in your shoulder is affected.
- Achilles tendonitis - this affects the lower calf muscle to the heel bone and is common in runners.
- De Quervain’s tendonitis - when your thumb and the side of your wrist are affected.
- Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) - this affects your kneecap and is common in people who jump a lot, for example, if you play netball.
- Bicep tendonitis - the tendon that connects your bicep muscle to your shoulder is affected.
- Ankle tendonitis - this tends to mostly affect people who are flat footed and it affects the tendon that runs under the bony bump on the outside of your ankle.
- Rotator cuff tendonitis - the tendons that connect your muscles to your shoulder joint are affected.
Although rare, if you have very sudden and excruciating pain, you may have a ruptured tendon. You may also hear a snapping, or popping sound as the tendon ruptures.
You should see a GP urgently if you think this may have happened as surgery, or another type of treatment, is usually required.