Temporal tendinosis: A cause of chronic orofacial pain

Hart B. Bressler, Masad Markus, Rachel P. Bressler, Saul N. Friedman, Lawrence Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Diverse musculoskeletal disorders and neuropathic symptoms of the face pose significant diagnostic challenges. In particular, temporal tendinosis is generally overlooked in the medical and dental literature and is therefore a poorly understood topic and often problematic cause of chronic orofacial pain. In this article, we explore temporal tendinosis as a cause of unresolved orofacial pain by reviewing the complex anatomy of the temporalis muscle, common presentations of temporal tendinosis, possible etiologies for injury and place a strong emphasis on required diagnostic evaluation and clinical management. Recent Findings: Temporal tendinosis remains under diagnosed due to a combination of anatomical complexity and incomplete description in the majority of general anatomy medical textbooks. The two main presentations are unilateral facial pain with or without temporal headache and pain radiating from the distal temporalis tendon to the temporalis muscle. Diagnosis should be made with a combination of focused history, physical examination and specialised imaging, preferably with ultrasound but with MRI an alternate option. While many management options are available, optimal treatment remains unclear. Summary: Temporal tendinosis is an under-recognised and under-treated condition. Despite the fact that orofacial pain is one of the single most common complaints of patients presenting to physicians or dentists, it is widely acknowledged that training for diagnosis and manage of temporal tendinopathy among primary care physicians in both medical and dental professions is inadequate. This may result in extensive workups, leading to suboptimal management and chronic pain syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalCurrent Pain and Headache Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Chronic pain
  • Temporalis
  • Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendinopathy
  • Tendonitis


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