Tendonitis and Tendonosis
What are Tendonitis and Tendonosis?
Tendons are strong, thick bundles of fibrous tissue that connect muscle to bone. Tendonitis refers to irritation of a tendon leading to inflammation. (Figure 1). Pain, swelling, stiffness, and discomfort is generally experienced as well. Over time, tendonosis may develop due to continued damage and inadequate recovery. It may also result in a thickened, lumpy, and sometimes permanently weakened tendon.
Tendonitis and tendonosis are most often caused by overuse and can occur in any tendon within the body. Typical sites of tendonitis are the shoulder, elbow, hand/wrist, foot, and knee.
Ergonomic Risk Factors
- Forceful exertions (e.g. lifting, carrying, gripping, etc.)
- Contact stress
- Mechanical stress
Awkward postures (e.g., unbalanced loading, extending joints beyond an individual’s normal range of motion, etc.)
Similar muscle actions performed multiple times in a short period
Sustained muscle contractions without enough rest
May lead to fatigue, weakness, and/or altered movement patterns
Extended vibration exposure is linked to abnormal tendon function due to tissue fatigue
Many or all of the risk factors act in synergy to increase the risk of developing tendonitis/tendonosis
Specific Recommendations for Prevention
- Avoid contact stresses where possible (kneeling, leaning, tight footwear, etc.)
- Decrease external forces
- Take regular breaks
- Adequately prepare and warmup musculature prior to movement
- Increase flexibility of surrounding muscles to reduce stress on the tendons
- Avoid prolonged exposure to vibration