Do you have tendinitis, tendinopathy or bursitis?

We see people in our office daily complaining of hip, shoulder, knee and other joint pain. One of the most frequent question we get is what is it – is it tendinitis? Bursitis? In this blog we explain the difference between tendinitis, tendinopathy and bursitis.

What is Tendinitis?

What is a tendon?

A tendon is a thick fibrous tissue that connects the bone to the muscle. When a tendon is inflamed due to repetitive use or injury, then the problem is referred to as tendinitis.. This condition can affect all the joints in the body and is often seen in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee and heel.

Tendinitis and sport

Many people seek help with tendinitis following sports injuries. The problem can be due to:

  • Direct and sudden fall where the tendon is stretched
  • Poor technique
  • Overuse of the joint

Symptoms include:

  • Tenderness on touch
  • Pain or ache on joint movement
  • Redness or swelling

Is it just sports people that suffer with these conditions?

As much as many of these inflammatory conditions are due to overuse or accidents related to various sports, there are other reasons why these conditions occur.

Other reasons include:

  • Lack of muscle tone
  • Repetitive work/actions
  • Use of tools with vibration
  • Over exertion
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Falls/trauma

What is Tendinopathy?

Tendinopathy and tendinitis can be confused – tendinopathy is more chronic in nature and is due to poor resolution or constant re-injury. The difference with tendinopathy is that with this condition there is damage to the collagen fibres that make up the tendon.

  • Achilles tendon
  • Rotator cuff tendons
  • Patellar tendon
  • Forearm extensor muscles (tennis elbow)

What is a Bursa?

Bursa’ means bag or ‘sac’ in latin and it is best described as a fluid filled sac. There are bursae around joints and they cleverly act to reduce friction between moving tissues of the body.

What is Bursitis?

The bursa can become inflamed with direct injuries to a joint, repetitive movements and faulty joint alignment. Other reasons include infection, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Where is bursitis common?

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Knee (carpet layers, tiler‘s, concretors, priests)
  • Hip
  • Achilles
  • Hamstring

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Lisa, director