Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2021 Jan 7;7(1):1. doi: 10.1038/s41572-020-00234-1.


Tendinopathy describes a complex multifaceted pathology of the tendon, characterized by pain, decline in function and reduced exercise tolerance. The most common overuse tendinopathies involve the rotator cuff tendon, medial and lateral elbow epicondyles, patellar tendon, gluteal tendons and the Achilles tendon. The prominent histological and molecular features of tendinopathy include disorganization of collagen fibres, an increase in the microvasculature and sensory nerve innervation, dysregulated extracellular matrix homeostasis, increased immune cells and inflammatory mediators, and enhanced cellular apoptosis. Although diagnosis is mostly achieved based on clinical symptoms, in some cases, additional pain-provoking tests and imaging might be necessary. Management consists of different exercise and loading programmes, therapeutic modalities and surgical interventions; however, their effectiveness remains ambiguous. Future research should focus on elucidating the key functional pathways implicated in clinical disease and on improved rehabilitation protocols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon*
  • Humans
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Tendinopathy* / diagnosis
  • Tendinopathy* / etiology
  • Tendinopathy* / therapy