Tendon-related disorders

What is a tendon-related disorder?

Tendons are flexible bands of tissue of various sizes that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons also assist the muscles in making your body move. Injury or overuse of tendons can lead to a condition known as tendinitis, in which the tendons become swollen.


Tendinitis causes pain around joints. The joints most commonly affected by tendinitis are the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.

Causes and risk factors

Repeating the same movements frequently on a daily basis increases your chances of getting tendinitis. This includes physical activity during work or while playing sports. Tendon injuries are often named for the activities that cause them, such as:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Jumper’s knee

Treatment options

Treatment of tendinitis begins with reducing pain and swelling. Your doctor may recommend medication like ibuprofen along with the R.I.C.E. method:

  • Rest the affected area.
  • Ice the affected area during the first few days after the pain begins.
  • Compress the affected area with a bandage or wrap.
  • Elevate the joint to a level above your heart.

A brace or support for the affected joint may also be an option.

To help tendons heal, your doctor may suggest additional therapy, such as:

  • Ultrasound, which uses vibration to warm tissue and increase blood flow to the area
  • Massage
  • Exercises to improve strength and flexibility

Surgery may be necessary if you’ve torn a tendon completely.

Last reviewed: 
November 2016

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