All about tendinopathy


Tendinopathies are different painful problems that affect the tendons of muscles. We often hear the terms tendinitis and tendinosis used without really knowing what the difference is.

  • Tendonitis: Injury caused by overuse or trauma. Most often, a tendonitis develops as a result of an unusual effort or overtraining. The muscle and tendon are unable to adapt to keep up with the effort and the result is inflammation and pain.
  • Tendinosis: Progressive degeneration of the tendon caused by repeated stress or strain on it. Tissue healing is insufficient and results in thinning or deformation of the tendon fibers, calcifications or micro-tears. Untreated tendinosis can lead to a partial or complete tear of the tendon. This process takes place over several years and there are no inflammatory signs.

Tendinopathy manifests itself in the form of pain, which is the main reason why people seek physiotherapy for this condition. Pain tends to increase with movement or contraction of the affected muscle. However, during the evaluation, your physiotherapist may also notice muscular tension, deficiencies in mobility, muscle strength, effort tolerance, flexibility, posture and movement pattern in your sports or work movements.

This condition evolves over a few weeks to several months, depending on many factors. Early treatment in physiotherapy is essential to improve the prognosis. Besides, the longer the condition has been present, the more likely it is to become chronic, which makes it slower and more difficult to heal.


Tendinopathies can be treated with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture and appropriate medication. In severe cases, surgery may be indicated, especially if a tendon has been significantly torn. The initial treatment consists of resting the affected muscle group while keeping the limb active and mobile. Then, when appropriate, we must progressively start strengthening the affected muscle group and re-educating the movement. Physiotherapy management will include myofascial techniques, cryotherapy and thermotherapy, electrotherapy and pain management education. Ultrasound, manual therapy, taping and an exercise program will also be part of the treatment plan.

In short, the physiotherapist is the health professional who will guide you through the healing process. Do not hesitate to consult a physiotherapist quickly if you believe you have a tendinopathy.

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