Skip to content
Close to Salisbury University!
Call or Text Us Now (410) 324-3301

Tendonitis vs. Tendinosis – What’s the Difference?

Tendonitis and tendinosis are both conditions that affect tendons, the tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. While they share similarities, they are distinct in terms of their causes, symptoms, and treatments. Understanding the difference between these two conditions is essential for effective diagnosis and management. In this blog post, we’ll provide comprehensive insights into tendonitis and tendinosis, helping you better grasp the nuances of these common tendon-related issues.

Tendonitis: The Acute Inflammation

Tendonitis, often referred to as tendinitis, is characterized by acute inflammation of a tendon. This condition typically results from overuse, sudden injuries, or repetitive activities that strain the tendon. Common examples include tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and Achilles tendonitis. Key characteristics of tendonitis include:

Inflammation: Tendonitis involves inflammation of the tendon, leading to pain, swelling, and warmth at the affected site.

Pain: Pain is a hallmark symptom, often worsened with movement or activity involving the affected tendon.

Acute Onset: Tendonitis typically has a sudden onset, with symptoms appearing relatively quickly after overuse or injury.

Responsive to Rest and Treatment: Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and other conservative treatments are often effective in managing tendonitis.

Tendinosis: The Chronic Degeneration

Tendinosis, in contrast, is a chronic condition characterized by the degeneration of tendon tissue. It results from long-term wear and tear on the tendon without significant inflammation. While it can develop from untreated or persistent tendonitis, tendinosis differs in several ways:

Degeneration: Instead of inflammation, tendinosis involves the breakdown and degeneration of the tendon’s collagen fibers.

Chronic Pain: Pain associated with tendinosis is typically chronic and may worsen gradually over time.

Microscopic Changes: Tendinosis is often characterized by microscopic changes in the tendon tissue, such as collagen disorganization.

Treatment Challenges: Tendinosis can be more challenging to treat than tendonitis, as it doesn’t respond well to traditional anti-inflammatory medications.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of tendonitis or tendinosis and need expert guidance for diagnosis and treatment, reach out to Strive Sports Medicine PT at (410) 324-3301. Our experienced physical therapists specialize in tendon-related issues and can help you find the most effective solution.

While tendonitis and tendinosis share the commonality of affecting tendons, they differ in terms of inflammation and degeneration. Understanding these differences is vital for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If you have questions or need personalized guidance for tendon-related issues, don’t hesitate to contact Strive Sports Medicine PT at (410) 324-3301 or visit us in Fruitland, MD. Your tendon health and well-being are our top priorities.

Travis Profile Bio Image

Dr. Travis Light


"We Help Athletes & Active Young Adults Move Better, Live Pain-Free, And Get Back To Their Favorite Sport Without Resting or Slowing Down"