Private tendonitis treatments

Tendonitis is the inflammation of the connective tissues between your muscles and bones. If your symptoms aren't improving, our orthopaedic specialists offer effective diagnosis and treatment. 

Knee brace with MRI

At HCA we offer:

  • Experts in diagnosing and treating all types of tendonitis
  • Specialist appointments confirmed within 24 hours
  • Orthopaedic care that’s recommended to family or friends by 96% of our patients

What is tendonitis?

Your tendons are strands of thick connective tissue between your muscles and bones that help you move as your muscles tighten and relax. Tendonitis or tendinopathy is where the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, causing pain and tenderness around a joint and restricting your movement. 

Tendonitis can occur in any tendon in your body but is often experienced around the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels. It tends to happen due to repetitive strain or overuse in sports and is especially common in distance runners (Achilles tendonitis) and swimmers (rotator cuff tendonitis).

You can treat many cases of tendonitis with rest, ice, painkillers and physiotherapy. If your symptoms persist, you may need further tendonitis treatment such as steroid injections or surgery.  

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What are the types of tendonitis?

Most types of tendonitis take their common names from activities and parts of the body where they happen. Some of the most common include: 

Epicondylitis: This type affects the elbow. It's often known as tennis elbow when it affects the outside of the elbow or golfer's elbow when it occurs on the inside.

Calcific tendonitis: This condition is caused by a build-up of calcium in the tendons. It usually affects the shoulder, where it's also known as rotator cuff tendonitis or swimmer's shoulder.

Patellar tendonitis: This type causes pain between your kneecap and where the tendon attaches to your shinbone. It's also known as runner's or jumper's knee. 

Achilles tendonitis: This type occurs due to overuse of your Achilles tendon, which is a band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It's often caused by running or sports activity. 

Tendonitis vs tenosynovitis

Tenosynovitis is a condition linked to tendonitis that occurs when the lining of a tendon sheath becomes inflamed. A tendon sheath is a thin layer of tissue that encases a tendon and separates it from other surrounding tissue, allowing it to glide smoothly within the sheath. The tendon itself may or may not be inflamed at the same time. 

Common types of tenosynovitis are: 

  • De Quervain's disease, affecting the sheaths surrounding the tendons that help move the thumb
  • Trigger finger or thumb, which restricts extension and causes sudden locking or 'triggering'

Risk factors for tendonitis

Certain factors can make you more prone to developing tendonitis symptoms:

Age: Your tendons become less flexible with age, making them easier to injure. 

Work: Jobs such as manual labour and gardening that involve lots of repeated motions, awkward positions or vibration may increase your risk of tendonitis. 

Physical activity: Factors such as sudden increases in training, poor equipment, hard surfaces and short recovery times can bring on the condition.  

Medical conditions: You may be at higher risk of tendonitis if you have existing conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis

Biomechanical abnormalities (such as leg length discrepancy, raised arches)

Medications: Certain medications may also increase your risk, including:

  • Statins used to lower cholesterol
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics that fight bacteria
  • Corticosteroids that fight inflammation
  • Aromatase inhibitors used to lower breast cancer risk
ACL test

What are the causes of tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a relatively common condition. Whether at work or enjoying hobbies, it's usually caused by repeated movements that put stress on your tendons over time, such as running, swinging a golf club or tennis racquet, and using tools or computers. 

As well as repetition, performing these movements incorrectly can overload your tendons. Some sudden, forceful movements can also be a cause of tendonitis. 

What are the symptoms of tendonitis?

You have tendons all over your body. Symptoms of tendonitis can vary depending on the tendon affected but commonly include:

  • An ache or pain around the joint i.e. where a tendon attaches muscle to bone in your shoulder, elbow, knee or heel
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the joint, particularly first thing in the morning and after heavy exercise
  • Swelling and tenderness, sometimes with redness
  • A creaking or grating sensation when moving the tendon

Sudden pain and a popping or snapping sound can indicate that you've torn a tendon, which is known as a rupture. 

How to treat tendonitis yourself

For mild to moderate cases, you may be able to treat the problem yourself by:

  • Resting the affected tendon for a few days and avoiding activities that make it worse. Once the initial pain reduces, keep moving the joint gently to prevent it from becoming stiff  
  • Icing the tendon for around 15 minutes every two to three hours in the first few days 
  • Supporting it with a bandage or brace that you take off before bed  
  • Taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen or applying ibuprofen gel to the affected area
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When to see a specialist

You may need to see a specialist if your tendonitis symptoms persist and cause you a lot of pain. You should see a specialist right away if you think you may have ruptured a tendon – for example, if you experience sudden, severe pain and possibly notice a snapping noise during an activity. 

Leaving tendonitis untreated can lead to chronic pain, difficulty moving and muscle weakness, as well as increasing the risk of a tendon tear. 

Tendonitis screening and diagnosis 

Tendonitis can often be diagnosed through a physical exam. You will be examined focusing on the affected area and asked questions about how the pain is affecting you and your sports or exercise activities and other influencing factors that may have caused it. You'll be assessed to see how your movement may be contributing to the problem, sometimes through gait analysis which inspects how your body moves usually while walking or running.  

You may also undergo tests such as an ultrasound or MRI scan, which can rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

Potential treatment for tendonitis

As well as rest, ice and painkillers, rehabilitation such as physiotherapy is key for treating tendonitis when symptoms persist. 

Your tendons may need to be loaded in a certain way to improve the capacity of the tendon and the attached muscle to manage load. This is typically done in a graded fashion, with specific exercises to perform over several weeks. 

Physical therapy for tendonitis can also involve screening other joints for issues that may be causing you to move incorrectly, such as assessing shoulder mobility in cases of tennis elbow. You'll also be guided on how to return to activity gradually. 

If physical therapy isn't working, you may be recommended:

  • Steroid injections known as corticosteroids that reduce pain and inflammation quickly in the short term. These injections aren't usually recommended as a long-term solution, as having repeated injections can weaken your tendons. 
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, which are naturally occurring substances found in blood that can be injected into the injured area to promote healing. 
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy, using a pneumatic device similar to a hard massage to stimulate tendon cells and promote pain relief
  • A tendonitis operation to remove or repair damaged tissue. Tendon repair surgery is rarely needed and only recommended for severe symptoms where more conservative treatments aren't working.  

Preventing tendonitis

You can't always prevent tendonitis, but there are ways you can reduce the risk of injury, such as: 

  • Warming up your muscles before exercise and gently stretching afterwards
  • Avoiding movements or activities that cause you pain where possible – for example, swapping running for cycling
  • Moving correctly – for example, learning good form in sport or exercise and setting up your workspace correctly for your body and profession
  • Taking regular breaks from repetitive movements 
  • Not overexercising tired muscles

How long does tendonitis last? 

Most people who are diagnosed with tendonitis recover well with treatment and rest. 

It can take a few weeks to a couple of months to fully recover from tendonitis, depending on your injury's severity and how it's treated. Resting properly can help speed up your recovery time. Your specialist will tell you when it's safe to return to your regular activities, such as exercise and manual work.  

It's possible to suffer the same injury again if you put too much stress on the same tendons. If you have to perform repetitive movements for work or hobbies, a sport, exercise and musculoskeletal medicine specialist will be able to give you advice about avoiding repeat injuries. 

Why choose HCA UK

Why choose HCA UK for tendonitis treatment?

Fast access to care: We'll aim to confirm an appointment with a specialist within 24 hours of you getting in touch. 

Leading diagnostics: If needed, our diagnostic centres can provide imaging on the same day as your appointment. Any images and scans will be reported on by our expert musculoskeletal radiologists. 

Valued by patients: 97% of patients rated our care as 'very good' or 'excellent' in our 2022 patient satisfaction survey. 

Committed to quality care: We have a higher proportion of 'Outstanding' ratings from the Care Quality Commission than any other private hospital group in the UK.  

How to book an appointment

Book an appointment with a tendonitis specialist

If a tendon injury is causing you pain and restricting your movement, we offer fast access to diagnostics and tendonitis treatment. Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants online.

Private tendonitis treatments Consultants

Mr Shelain Patel

Mr Shelain Patel

Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr Noel Pollock

Dr Noel Pollock

Sports & Exercise Medicine

Mr Nicholas Cullen

Mr Nicholas Cullen

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr Ricci Plastow

Mr Ricci Plastow

Orthopaedic Surgery

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.