Tendinitis and tendinosis are often confused with each other due to their similar-sounding names and similar symptoms. However, these two conditions have completely different causes, treatments, and outcomes. Understanding the difference between these two conditions is important for proper diagnosis and management.
Tendinitis is a common condition that occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed. This inflammation can be caused by a sudden injury, overuse, or repetitive stress. Tendinitis is often accompanied by pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. The pain may be worse during activity, but can also be present at rest.
Tendinosis, on the other hand, is a degenerative condition that occurs when the structure of a tendon breaks down due to overuse or repetitive strain. Unlike tendinitis, tendinosis is not caused by inflammation. Instead, it is characterized by the development of small tears in the tendon tissue, which can lead to weakness, stiffness, and pain.
The primary difference between tendinitis and tendinosis is the cause of the condition. Tendinitis is caused by inflammation, while tendinosis is caused by degeneration of the tendon tissue. This means that the treatments for each condition are different. Tendinitis may be treated with rest, ice, compression, and anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help strengthen the affected area and prevent future episodes of tendinitis.
Tendinosis, however, may require a more aggressive treatment approach. Because the tendon tissue has already degenerated, it cannot be healed with typical anti-inflammatory treatments. Instead, treatments may focus on stimulating the body's natural healing mechanisms to promote the growth of new, healthy tissue.
Another important difference between tendinitis and tendinosis is the time it takes to recover. Tendinitis can often be resolved with a few weeks of rest and symptom management. However, tendinosis can take much longer to heal because it involves the regeneration of the tissue itself. Patients with tendinosis may require several weeks or even months of treatment and rehabilitation before they are fully recovered.