Understanding Tendinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Management Strategies

By Jemma Chambers – Senior Physiotherapist

Tendinopathy is a common condition characterised by pain, swelling, and impaired function in the tendons. It can affect individuals of all ages and activity levels, from athletes to office workers. In this article, we will explore what tendinopathy is, its causes, symptoms, and evidence-based strategies to effectively manage this condition.

What is a Tendinopathy?

Tendons are tough, fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones, enabling movement and stability. Tendinopathy refers to a degenerative condition that affects the tendons, resulting in pain and dysfunction. It is often caused by repetitive overuse, aging, or sudden trauma.

Causes of Tendinopathy:

1. Overuse: Engaging in repetitive activities or sports that involve excessive strain on the tendons can lead to Tendinopathy. Examples include running, jumping, or repetitive motions in certain occupations.

2. Aging: As we age, tendons naturally become less elastic and more prone to injury. This can increase the risk of developing tendonopathy.

3. Poor biomechanics: Incorrect movement patterns or poor body mechanics during physical activities can place excessive stress on tendons, leading to Tendinopathy.

4. Sudden trauma: Acute injuries, such as falls or accidents, can cause tendon damage and subsequent Tendinopathy.

Symptoms of Tendinopathy:

1. Pain: Tendinopathy typically presents as localized pain near the affected tendon. The pain may worsen during or after activity and may be accompanied by stiffness.

2. Swelling: Tendons affected by Tendinopathy may become swollen or feel tender to the touch.

3. Reduced range of motion: Tendinopathy can limit joint mobility, making it difficult to perform certain movements or activities.

4. Weakness: Weakened tendons may result in reduced strength and stability, affecting overall function.

Effective Management Strategies:

1. Rest and modified activity: Initially, it is crucial to rest the affected tendon to allow for healing. Modifying activities to reduce strain on the tendon can help prevent further damage.

2. Physiotherapy; A structured physiotherapy program can help identify and diagnose a Tendinopathy. Allowing for accurate treatments including strengthening the affected tendon, improving flexibility, and correcting any underlying biomechanical issues.

3. Eccentric exercises may also be given by your physiotherapist: Eccentric exercises involve lengthening the tendon while under load. These exercises have shown promising results in managing Tendinopathy by promoting tendon remodeling and reducing pain.

4. Pain management: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical analgesics may be recommended to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

5. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT): ESWT is a non-invasive treatment that uses shockwaves to stimulate healing in damaged tendons. It has shown positive outcomes in managing chronic Tendinopathy.


Tendinopathy can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, but with proper management, it is possible to alleviate symptoms and restore function. Rest, modified activity, physical therapy, eccentric exercises, and other evidence-based treatments can help individuals recover from Tendinopathy and prevent future recurrences. If you suspect you have a tendinopathy and would like help, visit our website, book online, or call us today on 01454 838366.