5 Common Types of Tendonitis

5 Common Types of Tendonitis

Tendonitis is a huge pain — literally. 

Tendons are flexible but tough, rope-like connective tissues that connect muscle to bone and allow your limbs to move.

At Empire Physical Therapy and Athletic Rehabilitation, our physical therapists, Paul LaRosa, MS, PT, and Billy Reilly, MS, PT, have ample experience offering superior care to patients with tendonitis and other painful conditions

Their goal, of course, is to rid you of tendonitis pain and enable your freedom of movement.

Symptoms that point to tendonitis

Your shoulders, wrists, elbows, and knees are common tendonitis pain points, but tendonitis can attack any tendon.

Not surprisingly, you tend to feel tendonitis pain at the point where your tendon connects to your bone. Typically, you feel a dull pain that movement can exacerbate, as well as tenderness and swelling at your pain site. 

Repetitive movements performed while engaging in athletics or physical work are the most common cause of tendonitis, but sudden physical trauma can bring it on too, though that’s rarer. 

We treat certain types of tendonitis more often than others, and your risk increases with age and if you perform repetitive or awkward movements. 

5 commonly diagnosed types of tendonitis

The types of tendonitis are described by the body part they affect. We discuss five of the most common types here. 

Elbow tendonitis

There are two types of tendonitis that affect the elbow, commonly known as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. 

These are prime examples of tendonitis that emerge from making repetitive motions while playing each of these sports, but they aren’t the only activities to blame for this pain. People who engage in manual labor, like plumbers and carpenters, suffer frequently. 

Tennis elbow pain occurs where your forearm muscle tendons connect to a bony protrusion on the outside of your elbow. The same thing happens with golfer's elbow, except the point of connection is on the inside of your elbow. 

With both conditions, pain can worsen and flow into your forearm and wrist. You might also feel weakness, tingling, numbness, and stiffness. 

Knee tendonitis (patellar tendonitis)

Knee tendonitis develops when the tendon that attaches your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone is damaged. This can be debilitating, since this particular tendon works in concert with the muscles at the front of your thigh to enable you to jump, run, and kick.

If left untreated, knee pain can get so bad that you have trouble climbing stairs, let alone playing basketball. 

Hip tendonitis

Two muscles, the iliac, which starts at your hip bone, and the psoas, which begins at your lower spine, are pivotal in keeping you stable and allowing you to lift your leg chestward. They unite in a tendon at the top of your femur (thighbone), and this is where you feel pain. 

This pain can make activities as simple as getting up from a chair and even walking, quite painful. You might also notice a clicking sound when you move. Everyone from avid runners to older adults with uneven gait problems can suffer from hip tendonitis. 

Achilles tendonitis

This type of tendonitis attacks the tendon that connects the calf muscles in the lower half of your leg to your heel bone. Pain in this Achilles area may worsen if you suddenly up your training intensity or do more climbing, whether on stairs at home or hills on a hike, and it’s often worse in the morning.

Shoulder tendonitis

The collection of muscle and tendons in your shoulder make up your rotator cuff. They connect the bone in your upper arm to your shoulder blade. 

Shoulder pain and inflammation are the main symptoms of shoulder tendonitis, but you may also notice that you’re unable to move your arm in certain ways, and your hands might tingle. In addition to discomfort, you might not be able to lift your arms above your head. 

How can physical therapy help with tendonitis?

We devise your highly customized treatment plan only after learning your medical history, how your tendonitis developed, how long you’ve been suffering, and if necessary, ordering imaging tests.

Our advanced treatments include manual physical therapy to strengthen and stretch your tendons, ultrasound therapy, and electrical stimulation, a treatment where we place electrodes on your targeted area to deliver current that helps you heal and relieves symptoms. 

We also help you lower your risk for tendonitis by providing guidance about using proper form when you move, warming up before exercise, and taking it slow when upping your activity level. 

Another valuable offering is our functional movement screen, a test that studies your movement patterns and gives us information about how to correct problems that put you at risk for injury. 

You’re in the best healing hands with us, so contact our office in the Midtown East section of Manhattan, New York.

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