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A to Z: Enthesopathy

May also be called: Enthesitis

An enthesopathy (en-thuh-SOP-uh-thee) is any disease that affects the places where tendons, ligaments, or muscles attach to bones.

More to Know

The place where a ligament, tendon, or muscle attaches to a bone is called an enthesis (plural: entheses). Any disorder that causes pain, swelling, irritation, or damage in entheses can be considered an enthesopathy.

Common enthesopathies include arthritis (inflammation of the joints), Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon), plantar fasciitis (inflammation of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot), and ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation of joints in the spine).

Enthesopathies such as arthritis can be short-term — lasting just a few weeks or months, then going away forever — or they can be chronic and last for months or years. In rare cases, they can last a lifetime.

Enthesopathies can cause swelling, loss of motion, severe pain, and tenderness at the site of the affected entheses. Treatment for an enthesopathy depends on the condition, but it usually involves medications to treat pain and reduce swelling, and physical therapy to restore use and function of the joints.

Keep in Mind

Many kinds of enthesopathy, such as tendonitis and fasciitis, may eventually go away, but others can be lifelong conditions. Treatment and physical therapy for enthesopathies can help reduce pain, increase flexibility and range of motion, and lessen the effects of the condition.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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