Tendinosis: Definition and What it is
Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Tendinosis Definition and Meaning
Tendinosis refers to a condition that results from changes in the collagen fibers within a tendon. A tendon is a small, rope-like type of fibrous connective tissue, made up mainly of collagen, that links your muscles and bones. When tendon fibers are irritated or strained repeatedly without time to recover, tendinosis can occur and the tendon may be less flexible or mobile.
Symptoms of tendinosis typically include: pain and tenderness at the affected tendon, often worsening with activity; stiffness, particularly noticeable in the morning or after periods of inactivity; swelling or thickening of the tendon; or reduced strength and range of motion in the affected area.
Tendinosis vs. Tendinitis
While both conditions affect tendons, the key difference between tendinosis and tendinitis lies in their underlying pathology. While tendinitis involves inflammation of the tendon, tendinosis results from changes at a cellular level without significant inflammation.
Tendinosis: A Hinge Health Perspective
Learning about conditions that cause pain can be alarming. We know from Hinge Health members and research studies that anatomical labels can backfire when it comes to your treatment and recovery. When people hear they may have a condition like tendinosis, it can cause feelings of panic, like you have something "wrong" that needs to be fixed. This way of thinking about pain is largely outdated.
For most common musculoskeletal conditions, regardless of what may or may not be contributing to pain in your tissues, the solution is often the same. Movement — through physical and exercise therapy — can build strength, flexibility, and resilience to pain in and around the affected tendon.
How Physical Therapy Can Help With Tendinosis
Physical therapy aids in the management and treatment of tendinosis. A physical therapist (PT) may recommend targeted stretching and strengthening exercises to improve the tendon’s flexibility and function. Depending on where the affected tendon is located in the body, a PT may also recommend temporary activity modifications that can reduce stress on the tendon while you recover. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.
How Hinge Health Can Help You
If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.
The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.
Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition.
Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.
This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.
Bass, LMT, E. (2012). Tendinopathy: Why the Difference Between Tendinitis and Tendinosis Matters. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice, 5(1). doi:10.3822/ijtmb.v5i1.153
Charnoff, J., Ponnarasu, S., & Naqvi, U. (2021). Tendinosis. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448174/