Is it tendinopathy or tendinitis? And how do I fix it?

Tendinopathy is a term used to describe a condition involving the tendons, which are the thick cords that attach muscles to bones.

It encompasses a range of tendon disorders characterised by pain, swelling, and impaired function.

These characteristics reduce tolerance to exercise.

Tendinopathy can affect various tendons in the body, commonly seen in the Achilles tendon, rotator cuff, patellar tendon, and elbow tendons.

A term previously used was tendinitis, but more recent research has now shown that active inflammation is not always responsible for tendon pain, so we now use the term tendinopathy.

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of tendinopathy, focusing on reducing pain, improving function, and promoting tendon healing.

Key aspects of physiotherapy management for tendinopathy

Pain management

Exercise prescription

Biomechanical assessment

Manual therapy

Orthotics and bracing

It’s important to note that the management of tendinopathy should be individualised, and consultation with a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist, is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Additionally, the principles of the management may vary based on the specific tendon affected and the stage of tendinopathy (acute or chronic).

Each type of tendinopathy may require specific physiotherapy interventions tailored to the characteristics and location of the affected tendon.

Here’s an overview of physiotherapy management for Achilles tendinopathy, patellar tendinopathy, and gluteal tendinopathy:

Achilles tendinopathy

Load management

Stretching and mobility

Orthotics and footwear


Manual therapy

Gait analysis

Patellar tendinopathy

Quadriceps strengthening

Patellar taping


Biomechanical assessment


Gluteal tendinopathy

Hip strengthening

Core stability

Biomechanical correction


Soft tissue techniques

Activity modification

In all cases, a comprehensive assessment by a physiotherapist is crucial to determine the underlying factors contributing to tendinopathy.

The treatment plan should be tailored to the individual, considering factors such as the stage of tendinopathy, biomechanics, and specific functional goals.

Patients are usually actively involved in their rehabilitation, performing prescribed exercises regularly and adhering to lifestyle modifications to promote optimal healing.