Tendinopathy is a disease of a tendon. There are different types of tendinopathies, including tendinosis is the chronic degeneration of a tendon without inflammation; tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon and tenosynovitis, the inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon.

Tendinopathies affect tendons, causing chronic pain and inflammation. Inflammation may affect either the tendon (tendonitis) which over time weakens the tendon - or the tendon sheath (tenosynovitis), which causes them to thicken, hindering the tendon's movement.

There are different tendinopathies that may affect the tendons of the upper limb and hand. These include:
  • Tendinopathies of the shoulder - bicipital and rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • Tendinopathies of the elbow - lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow)
  • Tendinopathies of the hand and wrist - flexor tendinopathy, extensor tendinopathy, flexor tenosynovitis, extensor tenosynovitis, De Quervain's tenosynovitis and Dupuytren's contracture.
What are the causes of tendinopathies?

In most cases, tendinopathies are caused by an overuse injury. This results in microtears in the tendon, causing inflammation. As these injuries continue to develop, it can lead to tendon damage and degeneration.

How are tendinopathies treated?

In most cases, tendon disorders can be treated with a non-surgical approach. Above avoiding the particular activity to allow for healing, treatment commonly includes a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and hand therapy to stretch and strengthen the tendon. In certain cases, cortisone injections may be used.