Tendinopathy and Tendonitis

Tendinopathy (Tendinosis) is commonly used interchangeably with Tendonitis. Although they are not the same condition, they tend to occur in response to one another.
Tendonitis is the resulting inflammation from tendinopathy (or tendinosis), a common overuse injury caused by frequent and long-term excessive compression.

Tendinopathy is marked by the small tears in the tendon and muscle, alike to wear and tear. However, due to continuous activity, these tears may not get the chance to properly heal, causing the muscles to degenerate at a higher than usual rate and the affected tendon to become irritated and painfully swell. This inflammation is called tendonitis. It’s usually upon developing tendonitis that individuals become aware of a problem.

If suffering from tendonitis (or any of the above), treatment may be necessary to prevent the problem from becoming chronic (long-term) and from impeding your ability to walk.


Achilles Tendonitis (and Tendinopathy) are caused by a great deal of stress on your feet. It is a common athletic injury.

Things that can cause Tendonitis in the short or long term include:

  • Pushing your body too fast and too soon
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • Sports that have quick starts and stops
  • Poor-fitting shoes/bad footwear
  • Injury to the Achilles tendon
  • Running or exercising on uneven ground
  • Running uphill
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Bone spur (extra bone growth in the heel that rubs the tendon and causes
  • Flat arches, feet that roll in (overpronation), and weak calf muscles
  • Not warming up before exercising


Contact a doctor if you notice:

  • Weakness in your leg
  • Slight pain in the lower leg above the heel after activity
  • Feeling of stiffness in the leg that usually appears in the morning and lessens
    throughout the day
  • Bad pain the day after exercising
  • Pain as you climb stairs or go uphill
  • Swelling in the area of the Achilles tendon

Potential Treatments

Your doctor may perform an ultrasound or MRI scan to check for tendonitis. If the tendon is enlarged, this can often be seen on radiographs.

Based on your doctor’s evaluation of the severity of your injury, treatments may include:

  • Rest and stop doing activities that cause stress to the tendon.
  • Apply ice to the tendon for 15 minutes after exercising.
  • Compress the tendon by using an athletic wrap or surgical tape.
  • Elevate the painful extremity. You can reduce swelling by lying down and raising your foot to a level that is above your heart.
  • Stretch your ankles and calf muscles.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication (for example, ibuprofen) to reduce swelling.
  • Wear heel lifts in good running shoes.
  • Avoid barefoot walking or walking in shoes without a heel lift.
  • Avoid walking up inclines, climbing ladders, and climbing stairs, if possible.
  • Use a night splint.
  • Physical therapy may be necessary.
  • Depending on how severe the pain is, you can use a walking boot or walking cast.

Pain that lasts more than six months may require surgery.

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