Physiotherapy articles

Differences between tendinitis and tendinosis

Tendinitis and tendinosis are tendinopathies but have different characteristics.

Our collaborator PhysioPine Clinic This article clarifies the differences between tendinitis and tendinosis, which athletes have to confuse.

Many times in the results of the diagnostic tests that we perform before an injury, a different term appears that we usually know that is the tendinosis, but how is it different from tendonitis? Both are tendinopathies but have different characteristics.


Usually the term tendinitis (suffix -itis = inflammation) is used to talk about an inflammatory reaction of the tendon and its sheath. The body before an injury like this, sends substances of repair. The symptoms are clear: there is acute pain, swelling, heat and redness.

The cause can be a blow, an infection, a repetitive movement, an incorrect technique, a lack of training ... that is, it is a recent injury.


Until a few years ago, only the term tendinitis was known, today the histological studies of the tendon have allowed to make a clear differentiation. In fact, the majority of people with tendinopathies who come to our practice are patients with tendinosis.

In rural areas of India, families in charge of a blind minor frequently isolate and deprive him/her of the care and attention they provide to their other children; such situation becomes even more severe among lower-caste families, orphans and if the blind child is a girl. tendinosis (suffix-osis = degenerative process) there is no inflammatory process, ie at the cellular level there are no associated inflammatory cells. It is characterized because it is a lesion that has been in place for a while, that is, it is not acute or recent.

The fundamental characteristic is that there is a degenerative change in the structure of the tendon, which makes it much more vulnerable and with the possibility of breaking. Tendinous tears always occur in degenerated tendons. On palpation a thickening and a lack of elasticity of the tissue is noted. Pain is characteristic, although different from inflammatory pain.

Both can occur in any body tendon even some professionals think they can coexist at certain times.

One of the most important differences is the treatment, so that to act on the structure of a degenerated tendon is necessary different patterns than before an inflamed tendon.

Therapies such as superficial dry puncture, INDIBA, EPI, EPTE ... can help us with a histological or tendon tissue change. The eccentric exercises should never be lacking in latendinosis.

The load and frequency will depend on the patient and the tendon, always guided by a professional (in tendinitis these eccentric exercises are not advisable). Anti-inflammatory therapy is not effective in this type of injury, sometimes even masking the lesion. Ice is not effective either. Both because there is no inflammation to treat but a degeneration.

If the lesion persists after the treatment, it is necessary to return to the traumatologist's office to see other options, perhaps surgical.

The treatment of tendinosis are much slower than in tendinitis, so it is important to see our professional as soon as possible and the injury will evolve positively faster.

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