Tendinosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is it?

Tendonosis is the degeneration or breakdown of the connective tissue and collagen within your tendon. It commonly occurs at either your medial or lateral epicondyles (small bones on the edge of your elbow) or on the back of your wrist.  It can occur at any point where the tendon inserts onto the bone. Tendonosis can be due to micro-trauma, ageing and poor blood flow. Micro-trauma can be when there is repetitive forces pulling where the tendon originates in the bone.

What may I experience?

  • local tenderness over your lateral or medial epicondyle, dorsal or volar wrist
  • pain in and along your forearm muscles
  • pain with gripping
  • pain after a prolonged activity

What should I do?

Discuss with your therapist what activities may be causing the injury and work out ways to alter the activities or rest from those activities for a period of time. A temporary brace or splint is usually given to lessen the pulling of the muscles on the bone. A program of stretches, proprioception and eccentric strengthening is required to restore tendon function.    It is essential to follow a home program to learn to manage your condition independently.

Elbow brace applied to the right arm
Infographic of lateral epicondyle common tendon origin

What can I expect?

It often takes a while for this condition to present as pain that you need to attend to, therefore, it usually takes a similar amount of time to resolve fully. It is usual to get a full recovery, however you may need to modify how you perform certain activities. Your driving should not be affected.

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