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How to Manage Tendonitis

Tendons are strong, cord-like bands of connective tissue that attach muscle to bone. These vital structures are tightly bound to create tension when your muscles contract, pulling against the bone to allow for movement. While the tendons are strong, they’re vulnerable to strains and tears from overuse. 

Tendonitis can cause pain that strikes suddenly or comes on gradually, and it’s usually associated with overuse. If you have tendonitis, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary to get to the root of your symptoms. 

Here at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, our board-certified rheumatologists, Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, have extensive experience diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal pain and can get to the bottom of your symptoms.

What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon. This most often occurs from repetitive movement. Tennis elbow is one example of tendon inflammation caused by repetitive motion. Symptoms of tendonitis include:

Some of the most common causes of tendonitis are:

Is it tendonitis?

Chronic tendonitis usually causes a dull, persistent ache that worsens when you move the affected tendon. Acute tendonitis often causes a sharp pain that may significantly limit movement of the affected tendon. 

There are other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, making evaluation by a medical professional imperative. Once diagnosed, your provider will create a treatment plan to ease your pain, help your tendon recover, and reduce the risk of tendonitis recurring.

Tendonitis self-management

If you have symptoms of tendonitis, the sooner you take self-care steps, the better. The RICE method is a simple way to manage tendonitis at home. RICE refers to rest, ice, compression, and elevation:

Rest

When a tendon becomes painful or begins to ache, it’s important that you avoid trying to push through with activity. Continuing to move the affected tendon when it’s painful can cause more damage and delay recovery. Resting the affected tendon by avoiding bearing weight on it for the first 24-48 hours can be beneficial.

Ice

Applying an ice pack for 15 minutes every few hours for the first day or two can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Compression 

Wrapping the affected tendon with an elastic medical bandage, such as an ACE bandage, can limit swelling. It’s important to avoid wrapping the bandage so tight as to restrict blood flow.

Elevation

Raising the sore tendon above heart level can help reduce pain and swelling.

Treating tendonitis

Your provider at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center will create an appropriate treatment plan to address your needs and restore tendon function. Treatment may include any of the following:

Pain relievers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help ease pain associated with tendonitis. Many of these medications are available without a prescription.

Corticosteroids

Steroid injections can help ease pain and inflammation if you have tendonitis. However, these injections are normally only for short-term use.

Physical therapy                                           

Physical therapy has proven to be effective for treating tendonitis. A specific program designed to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon can help ease pain and help your tendon recover.

Surgery

Surgery is reserved for situations where the tendonitis doesn’t respond to other treatments or when there is significant damage to the tendon that requires surgical repair.

For more information on our patient-centered approach to treating tendonitis, book an appointment online or over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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