The Difference Between Tendinitis and Tendinosis, and Why It Matters

Your tendons are incredibly important tissues, attaching your muscles to your bones to allow movement in your joints. When a problem arises in these connective structures, you may be left with pain and limited movement. Two of the more common tendinopathies are tendinitis and tendinosis, which despite the similar names, are two distinct issues.

To ensure that you get the treatment you need, our experienced team at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine ensures that you receive a proper diagnosis. We understand the differences between tendinitis and tendinosis, which guide us moving forward.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at tendinitis and tendinosis and how we go about restoring tendon health in both instances.

Tendinitis defined

Tendinitis generally stems from repeated stresses on your tendon, though it can also develop on the heels of an acute injury, At the core of tendinitis is inflammation that’s caused by tiny tears in the fibrous tissue. This inflammation can lead to moderate-to-severe pain, which may present as a dull ache, or it may come and go with activity or certain movements.

Tendinosis defined

While inflammation is the hallmark of tendinitis, with tendinosis there’s no inflammation, just degeneration of the tendon. By degeneration, we mean a weakening of the tissue due to a change in its composition, which is a more serious problem than tendinitis.

Tendinosis typically develops in tissues that didn’t heal properly and, making matters more complicated, tendinosis often develops after repeated bouts of tendinitis.

Treating tendinitis and tendinosis

Unfortunately, tendinitis and tendinosis are often grouped under tendinitis, which means people with tendinosis may not be getting the right treatment. For example, since inflammation is the key factor in tendinitis, anti-inflammatory medications can play a valuable role in combating the condition. 

All too often, however, these same medications are prescribed for tendinosis, which is not an inflammatory condition.

Here at our practice, we believe in taking an approach to tendinitis and tendinosis that works to heal the damaged tissues, not just treat the symptoms.

First, we offer an advanced system called TenJet®, which is a technology we use to remove damaged tendon tissue in order to spur healthier regrowth. TenJet features a patented design that allows us to isolate and remove the degenerative tendinopathic tissue in a minimally invasive procedure that takes us only 15 minutes.

Another great approach, which we can combine with TenJet, is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. With PRP, we supply the damaged area with a much-needed boost in healing resources to encourage the tendon to heal and repair itself on a cellular level.

If you suspect you have a tendinopathy, we urge you to contact our office in Westfield, New Jersey, so that we can properly diagnose and treat the problem.

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