Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

For years I've been treated off and on for tennis elbow. It's always been called tendinitis but now I notice my records all use the word tendinosis. What's the difference?

Answer:

Tendinitis refers to an inflammatory process of the tendon. This occurs where the tendon inserts into the bone. Tendinosis is a degenerative process. With tendinosis, it's likely that a repair process that included early inflammatory changes took place.

But the events were disrupted. When tissue is examined from the area, there are no signs of inflammatory cells. Instead, fibroblasts and immature blood cells are present. The tendon becomes fragmented and frayed.

Tendinosis describes a chronic, degenerative process. Tendinitis refers to an inflammatory lesion. The terms tendinitis and epicondylitis are no longer used to describe chronic tennis elbow. With improved understanding of the underlying problem, the more accurate term (tendinosis) is used instead. Joubin S. Gabbay, MD, et al. Use of a Novel Active Implant Enhanced Forearm Device in the Treatment of Lateral Tendinosis. In Orthopedics. December 2007. Vol. 30. No. 12. Pp. 1005-1009.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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