Skip links

Arthritis / Tendinitis Care

Arthritis / Tendinitis Care

Arthritis and tendonitis can both cause intense pain, but they are two different conditions.

Arthritis is a common disorder that affects your joints. It can cause pain and inflammation, making it difficult to move or stay active. There are many types of arthritis. Each form causes different symptoms and may need different treatments. While arthritis usually affects older adults, it can develop in men, women and children of any age.

Tendinitis is a condition where the connective tissues between your muscles and bones (tendons) become inflamed. Often caused by repetitive activities, tendinitis can be painful. It commonly happens in the elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, Achilles tendon and base of the thumb. Tendinitis is also called tendonitis.

Learn the differences between arthritis, which involves joint inflammation, and tendonitis, which involves tendon inflammation.

Arthritis and Tendonitis: What is the difference?

Arthritis and Tendonitis
Learn More (


Arthritis is a disease that affects your joints (areas where your bones meet and move). Arthritis usually involves inflammation or degeneration (breakdown) of your joints. These changes can cause pain when you use the joint.

Arthritis is most common in the following areas of the body:

  • Feet.
  • Hands.
  • Hips.
  • Knees.
  • Lower back.

Arthritis is a broad term that describes more than 100 different joint conditions. The most common types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritisor “wear and tear” arthritis, which develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. It’s the most common form of arthritis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitisor arthritis of the spine (usually your lower back).
  • Juvenile arthritis (JA), a disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints. JA typically affects children 16 or younger.
  • Gouta disease that causes hard crystals of uric acid to form in your joints.
  • Psoriatic arthritisjoint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis (autoimmune disorder that causes skin irritation).
  • Rheumatoid arthritisa disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints.

Different types of arthritis have different causes. For instance, gout is the result of too much uric acid in your body. But for other types of arthritis, the exact cause is unknown. You may develop arthritis if you:

  • Have a family history of arthritis.
  • Have a job or play a sport that puts repeated stress on your joints.
  • Have certain autoimmune diseases or viral infections.

Some factors make you more likely to develop arthritis, including:

  • Age: The risk of arthritis increases as you get older.
  • Lifestyle: Smoking or a lack of exercise can increase your risk of arthritis.
  • Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women.
  • Weight: Obesity puts extra strain on your joints, which can lead to arthritis.

Different types of arthritis have different symptoms. They can be mild in some people and severe in others. Joint discomfort might come and go, or it could stay constant. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Redness.
  • Stiffness.
  • Swelling.
  • Tenderness.
  • Warmth.

If you think you may have arthritis, see your healthcare provider. The provider will ask about your symptoms and learn how joint pain affects your life. Your provider will perform a physical exam, which may include:

  • Assessing mobility and range of motion in your joints.
  • Checking for areas of tenderness or swelling around your joints.
  • Evaluating your overall health to determine if a different condition could be causing your symptoms.

There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the arthritis, its symptoms and your overall health.

Conservative (nonsurgical) treatments include:

  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune system’s inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain. Contact us to learn more about how physical therapy will help reduce arthritic pain
  • Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called visco supplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.

Since there’s no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.


Tendinitis (or tendonitis) is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are pieces of connective tissue between muscles and bones. Tendinitis can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) in nature.

Anyone can get tendinitis. However, it’s more common in those who do repetitive activities. Some of these activities include:

  • Gardening/landscaping.
  • Woodworking.
  • Shoveling.
  • Painting.
  • Scrubbing.
  • Tennis, golf, skiing, baseball (throwing and pitching).

Other risk factors for tendinitis include:

  • Poor posture at work or home.
  • Presence of certain diseases that can weaken muscles.
  • Adults 40 years of age and older. As tendons age, they tolerate less stress, are less elastic and tear more easily.
  • Medications (rare occurrence) that can cause tendons to tear.

Tendinitis can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. The most common places are:

  • Base of the thumb.
  • Elbow.
  • Shoulder.
  • Hip.
  • Knee.
  • Achilles tendon (connects the calf muscles to the heel bone).

Tendinitis most often is caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden, more serious injury.

One of the main symptoms of tendinitis is pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area. Pain may be a gradual buildup or sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.

First-line treatment includes:

  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the problem.
  • Resting the injured area.
  • Icing the area the day of the injury.
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.

If the condition does not improve in about three weeks, see your doctor. You may need more advanced treatments, including:

  • Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroids (often called “steroids”) are often used because they work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy includes range of motion exercises and splinting (thumb, forearm, hands). At Regain Health, we can help! Book an Appointment, now.
  • Surgery: This is rarely needed and only for severe problems that do not respond to other treatments.

To avoid getting tendinitis, follow these tips:

  • Avoid staying in the same position. Take breaks every 30 minutes.
  • Learn proper posture positions for all activities.
  • Position your body directly in front of the object you want to pick up. Reach for the object by stretching your arm and hand directly forward toward the object. Never grab objects with your arm in a sideways position. If reaching for an object overhead, center your body and reach up and grab the item with both hands.
  • Use a firm, but not a tightly squeezed, grip when working with or picking up objects.
  • Don’t use one hand to carry heavy objects. Don’t hold the heavy object in one hand at the side of your body.
  • Avoid sitting with your leg folded under.
  • Stop any activity if you feel pain.

Before exercising or starting a sports activity:

  • Stretch and warm up before starting the activity.
  • Wear properly sized and fitted clothes, shoes and equipment.
  • Start slow. Gradually increase your activity level.

It may take weeks to months to recover from tendinitis, depending on the severity of your injury.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen the muscle and tendon. Eccentric strengthening, which emphasizes contraction of a muscle while it’s lengthening, is an effective treatment for many chronic tendon conditions.

Book an Appointment

What to expect from your physiotherapist

Likely questions that we mostly ask, such as:

  • Where do you feel pain?
  • When did your pain begin?
  • Did it begin all at once or come on bit by bit?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
  • Have you been instructed in proper ways to do your activity?
  • Does your pain occur or worsen during certain activities, such as kneeling or climbing stairs?
  • Have you recently had a fall or other kind of injury?
  • What treatments have you tried at home?
  • What did those treatments do?
  • What, if anything, makes your symptoms better?
  • What, if anything, makes your symptoms worse?

How can we help

Get pain relief now; request an appointment with one of our specialists. Or, call us any time at (778) 366-8888 for more information regarding the diagnosis of arthritis and tendinitis.

Are you in pain?

Let our professional physical therapist help you today. Don’t let a minor ache become a major injury.

Get started now