Muscle and Tendon Disorders

Skeletal muscles contract and relax to move the body and are connected to bones by fibrous tissue known as tendons. Both muscles and tendons can be temporarily or permanently damaged by injury, overexertion, infection, or other disorders, causing pain, weakness, restricted movement, and tiredness.

Skeletal muscles account for half the weight of the body but are only rarely affected by disease. Injury to a muscle or tendon, either through strenuous exercise or as a result of a repetitive physical activity, is the cause of some of the disorders described in this section, including muscle cramps, torticollis, repetitive strain injury, and tennis and golfer’s elbow. The next articles discuss inflammation of a tendon (tendinitis) or tendon sheath (tenosynovitis) and ganglia, which are fluid-filled cysts that commonly arise on the wrist or the back of the hand.

Some disorders that affect the skeletal muscles are covered in other parts of the guide. These conditions include the immune system disorders polymyalgia rheumatica and polymyositis and the inherited disease muscular dystrophy. Musculoskeletal injuries are also covered elsewhere.

Key anatomy

For more information on the structure and function of muscles and tendons, see The Body’s Muscles.

Muscle Cramps



Repetitive Strain Injury

Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis

Dupuytren’s Contracture


From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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