What is tendinopathy?

Tendinopathy is when tendons become irritated and painful.

This can in turn cause weakness and ongoing pain that is experienced more commonly in people who are physically active in work, sport or leisure activities.

Recent research has shown that tendinopathies are not inflammatory in nature.

They present on a continuum of reactive (early) to degenerative (late) stages that have varying symptoms and guide our treatment accordingly.

How do I know if I have a tendinopathy?

Clinically, tendinopathies present with the following typical features:

Why me?

Tendinopathy can be brought on by many different risk factors including:

It’s usually a combination of these that brings on a tendinopathy.

What can physiotherapy do to help?

The main tendinopathies we see are at the Achilles (near the heel), patella (under the kneecap), gluteal (on the side of the hip) and tennis elbow.

The tendinopathy continuum generally spans from reactive (initial phase) to disrepair to degenerative (long-term).

If a reactive tendon is not managed properly, it can eventually lead to stages further down the spectrum, where the tendon becomes permanently damaged.

It is very difficult to reverse the continuum and thus it’s very important to identify and manage this early.


First stage

Second stage

Third stage

Tendinopathy can be a very debilitating condition that can affect a person’s ability to participate in work, sport and important day to day activities.

Tendinopathies addressed with early and intensive physiotherapy management improve patient outcomes with quicker recovery and return to activities.