Tendonitis: Overview

Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon – the strong, white, fibrous tissue connecting muscle to bone.  Tendonitis can be associated with a calcium deposit, which can cause inflammation.  It is one of the common causes of acute pain in the shoulder and can occur after an injury or as a result of repetitious movements.  In rare cases, it may also result from a disease.

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Causes and Development

Causes of tendonitis not mentioned elsewhere:

  • poorly-fitted shoes that rub against foot tendons
  • bone spurs in the feet or elsewhere that irritate tendons
  • obesity, which puts abnormal pressure on the legs and feet
  • repeated overuse of the wrist, which can inflame the tendons
  • overuse of the tendons in the shoulder, sometimes seen in swimmers or in the serving arm of a tennis player
  • overuse of arm muscles, which can cause inflammation of tendons in the elbow, such as tennis or golfer's elbow.

Signs and Symptoms

Tendonitis usually causes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a sharp or achy pain
  • tenderness and swelling
  • restricted movement in the area surrounding the injury
  • weakness in the arm or leg due to pain.

Prognosis; Complications; Seek medical attention if...

Acute tendonitis often subsides within 10 to 14 days.

In cases of Achilles tendonitis, if the tendon becomes more painful with greater activity such as running or playing sports, there is a chance the tendon could rupture: if not taken care of, tendonitis can weaken tendons, making them more susceptible to a tear.

If the pain worsens or continues after home care for over 14 days, a doctor should be consulted.

Conditions that suggest Tendonitis:

Symptoms - Skeletal

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Risk factors for Tendonitis:



Chronic tendonitis is occasionally associated with hypothyroidism.

Recommendations for Tendonitis:


Conventional Drug Avoidance

Cortisone shots may reduce the pain and assist in recovery, but will not regrow damaged tissue.  Some doctors have made the claim, now supported by evidence, that cortisone shots can in fact weaken the structures being treated, and do not recommend them in spite of the temporary relief they may offer.  (Care must be taken when injecting cortisone near any ligament or tendon: they must not be injected into.)

While the use of anti-inflammatories may reduce the swelling and pain, they also may hinder permanent recovery.  Inflammation is part of the process for normal tendon regrowth.  The chronic use of anti-inflammatories should be approached with caution.


Natural Progesterone

Progesterone (especially when mixed with vitamin E) has been used topically for the relief of tendonitis pain.

Invasive / Surgery


Prolotherapy is the treatment of choice for any weakened ligament or tendon and its associated pain.  Prolotherapy successfully regrows tendons and ligaments and reduces or eliminates pain from tendonitis.

Laboratory Testing

Test Thyroid Function

Chronic tendonitis is occasionally associated with hypothyroidism.


MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)

Natural agents that have been used in tendonitis include MSM orally for pain relief.

Skin / Topical

DMSO Topically

DMSO has been used successfully to reduce inflammation and pain.

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