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Tendonitis - Diagnosing tendonitis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Tendonitis or tenosynovitis (inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tendon) can often be diagnosed by your GP.

Your GP will ask you:

  • where the pain is and how severe it is
  • whether you have recently injured yourself while exercising, or whether your work involves repeated use of the affected area
  • whether movement or exercise makes the pain worse

You may also be asked to move the affected area to look at your range of movement.

Sometimes, the tendon sheath becomes thickened and a creaky sound can be heard when you attempt to move the tendon.

Imaging tests

If there is any doubt about the diagnosis, imaging tests can be carried out to provide more information about your injury. For example:

  • an X-ray may show calcium deposits around a tendon, indicating calcific tendonitis, or it may reveal that you have a fractured or broken bone
  • an ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can provide a more detailed image - for example, if it is not clear which tendon in your elbow is injured
Medical Review: April 08, 2013
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