Tendonitis and tendonosis are complications of the tendons. The symptoms are similar. However, the differences between the two, while subtle, are definitive enough to merit separate treatments. Thus, the ability to recognize the differences between tendonitis and tendonosis is imperative to preventing and healing both conditions.
Tendonitis is caused by an inflammation of the tendons, typically caused by a sprain where the muscles of the body connect to the bones. Tendons must move and bend smoothly for functional movement. When their function is interrupted or impaired, tendons become irritated and begin to inflame. Inflammation is usually accompanied with dull or severe pain and difficulty moving joints and muscles.
Tendonosis is characterized by a degeneration of the tendons. More specifically, it is caused by a degeneration of the fibrous material known as collagen, from which tendons are made. Tendonosis usually occurs as a result of a past injury. It often appears long after the injury occurs. The degeneration of collagen causes tendons to become soft and jellylike, which ultimately results in pain as tendons become flaccid and unable to function properly. Unlike tendonitis, tendonosis is often difficult to detect visually because it is not accompanied by inflammation.
Treatment for Tendonitis
Allow the affected tendon ample time to rest by ceasing any physical activity that may have caused or is aggravating the inflammation. If the tendonitis is in the feet or legs, elevate them. Take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to decrease any swelling. Apply ice to the affected area to ease pain. If possible, brace the area by applying a cast or wrapping the skin in athletic tape to keep it compressed.
Treatment for Tendonosis
Do not take any anti-inflammatory medication. Try to move and use the affected tendon as much as possible without causing excessive pain. This will help reduce the degeneration of collagen. Massage the tendon with ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables to help ease pain. Seek physical therapy as soon as possible; damaged tendons may be in need of therapeutic exercise or even reconstructive surgery.
Do not ignore pain caused by either tendonitis or tendonosis. Applying unnecessary force or physically exerting damaged tendons can further aggravate the symptoms. Be patient. The healing process for tendon damage caused by tendonosis can be upward of nine months. Seek a doctor’s advice if pain continues to increase or you are having intense pain without any visible signs of inflammation.