Tendon Pain: Tendinosis, Tendonitis or Tendinopathy?
There are many tissues in our body that perform different types of jobs. Tendon is one such fibrous band of tissue that helps connect a bone to a muscle. When this tendon tissue is injured, damaged or inflamed it manifests itself in many ways. Doctors give it many names including tendonitis, tendinopathy or tendinosis.
It also is known as tenosynovitis, paratenonitis, or tendon tear or rupture. As a non-doctor, it would be a good idea to have some understanding of these conditions. It will help them to prevent such tendon injuries and also plan the treatment accordingly.
We are happy to share some basic descriptions of the various terms that are used for describing different conditions of the tendon.
Partial & Complete Tendon Ruptures
When a tendon gets torn it is referred to as a rupture. When it is torn in two pieces it is called as complete rupture. If some tendon still remains in place and is intact, it is called partial rupture. There also is a difference between acute and chronic tendon ruptures.
An acute tendon rupture is basically a one-time event and it can result in immediate pain and could also lead to decreased functioning of the affected joint. This may also be followed by bruising and swelling. On the other hand acute rupture is diagnosed and treated within two weeks after it has occurred. Chronic tendon ruptures may occur because of various reasons and a few of them are being listed down here under:
- Partial rupture worsens over a period of time.
- Acute rupture that remains untreated for many weeks is also categorized as chronic tendon rupture. The time period could be 4 to 6 weeks and it depends on the tendon.
- Doctors may suggest surgery or immobilization with a splint or a period of rest when it comes to treating this problem.
What is Tendonosis?
The tissues that connect the muscles to the joints are known as tendons. These tendons are made up of thick and fibrous tendons. Tendonosis or Tendinosis is a condition that is caused by the deteriorating collagen (a type of structural protein) in these tendons.
This condition is usually caused by increased use of tendons. Tendonosis may occur in any part of the body in any of the tendons but the most common tendons where it may occur are:
- Heel (Achilles tendon)
- Shoulder (rotator cuff)
- Knees (patellar tendon)
What is Tendonitis?
Let’s start with what is Tendonitis? Tendonitis was previously used to describe almost any type of tendon pain. However, today medical professionals use the term tendonitis to refer to acute inflammation of the tendon. This happens due to small tears. It is actually refers to inflammation and hence tendonitis is referred to inflammation of the tendon.
It manifests itself with some common symptoms like pain that is localized, warmth and swelling. It could be caused because of a sudden and acute injury and it also could be caused by repeated micro-traumas that impact a single tendon or a group of tendons. The inflammation is treated by resting the join that is affected and also by taking over the country NSAIDs or Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include naproxen, ipuproven and even diclofenac sodium. It takes several weeks for patients to recover from tendonitis.
According to research, inflammation of the tendon is not very common. Often many people think that they may be suffering from tendonitis which may actually be tendinosis. In fact even chronic tendonitis could lead to a situation known as tendinosis.
Differences Between Tendonitis & Tendinosis
There are some key difference between tendonitis and tendinosis. Tendinosis could take many months to treat. There are a few experts who believe that there should be different treatment methods for the two conditions. They believe that tendinosis should not depend too much of corticosteroids and NSAIDs.
These drugs could inhibit the normal reconstruction and growth of the tendon and also could weaken its structure. It could lead to long terms healing problems. Tendinosis impacts people who are into high intensity activities and sports and this requires regular and repeated tendon movement.