In Doctor Benji’s recent podcast, he discusses two conditions that are commonly mistaken for one another. He explains that tendonosis and tendonitis are not synonymous and breaks down what the key differences are.
It’s important to distinguish between the two because that understanding impacts your rehabilitation plan, your ability to take anti-inflammatories, and ultimately the decision to have surgery.
Doctor Benji’s podcast is available here:
The Level of Inflammation
One of the most telling ways to determine whether someone is experiencing tendonosis or tendonitis is through the level of inflammation they have and the duration of time that the symptoms have been present.
Tendonitis is characterized by acute inflammation that has recently occurred and could be from an overuse injury or acute trauma. This causes your body to send in molecules to remove debris and damage, in addition to replenishing the tendon. Treatment protocols with acute inflammation involve NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Naproxen, Duexis, Ebalovo, Ibuprofen.
NSAIDs are essential to being able to reduce swelling and should be combined with icing the area as well as a general restraint from using the area in question. There are restrictions as to who can take NSAID’s, and if you have one or more of the following, you will need to consult with your physician to determine an alternate treatment plan:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver Cirrhosis
- Kidney Disease
In contrast, long-term inflammation and pain that has lasted several months or more are likely tendonitis. In this case, anti-inflammatories are useless. The problem here is that you’ve had tendonitis, the tendon has been broken down and has not had an opportunity to heal fully. Now that the tendon has degenerated, NSAIDs will be of no use. More aggressive treatment options are needed, such as physical therapy, bracing, or stem cell injections, which help the tendon regenerate.