How to Treat Tendonitis? Best Treatment For Each Type

There are hundreds of tendons scattered throughout our body, but it is only a specific group of them that tend to suffer from tendonitis and need treatment.

Tendonitis usually has an anatomical cause, meaning if the tendon does not have a well-defined space to stretch and contract, it tends to become irritated and inflamed.

Anyone can have tendinitis, but it occurs commonly in adults, especially those over 40 years of age. With age, the tendons can lose elasticity and tolerate less stress. Let's find out the particularities of this condition and how to treat tendonitis.

But after all, what are the tendons?

A tendon is a flexible, fibrous tissue. It has the function of connecting the muscles to the bones in our body, thus allowing our contraction movements.

Tendons have different shapes and sizes. Some are very small, like the ones that move the fingers. Others are much larger, such as the Achilles tendon of the heel.

If for some reason, the sliding movement of the tendon is impaired, it may ignite and the movement will become painful. This is called tendinitis, which literally means inflammation of the tendon.

Causes of tendonitis

Tendonitis can occur in any area of ​​the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. However, the most common locations are:

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  • Base of the thumb;
  • Elbow;
  • Pulse;
  • Shoulder;
  • Hip;
  • Knee;
  • Heel.

The most common causes are stress and over-movement of these areas. For reasons of uncertainty, tendinitis is very common in people with diabetes. In recent years, frequent occurrence of tendinitis has been reported in people using certain antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin. The cause of this occurrence is not yet known.

The General Symptoms of Tendonitis

The most common symptom of tendinitis is pain in the tissues around a joint. It occurs especially after the joint is used intensely after work or some form of physical exercise. In some cases, there may be the feeling of weakness, redness, swelling and local fever.

How to Treat Tendonitis?

The faster the tendonitis is treated, the sooner recovery of strength and tendon flexibility will occur.

The first recommendation for treatment in general is to apply ice packs to the area at the time of pain or immediately after any activity that may aggravate your pain.

To relieve pain and swelling, doctors recommend taking anti-inflammatory and resting. In some cases, the use of antibiotics is recommended.

Depending on the location and severity of tendonitis, you may need temporary immobilization, however, it is It is important to maintain smooth and regular movement of the joint even during treatment to avoid together.

For more severe cases of noninfectious tendonitis, the physician may inject a local corticosteroid or anesthetic into the affected tendon and refer patient to a physiotherapist so that he or she develops a rehabilitation program that will vary depending on the type and severity of tendonitis.

Surgical interventions to treat tendonitis are rare and reserved only for cases where there is no way to treat tendonitis more mildly, with irreversible damage to the tendon.

Symptoms and Best Treatment for Each Type of Tendonitis

Treatments are generally aimed at relieving pain, reducing inflammation and recovering the compromised tendon. In many cases, rest, applications of ice packs in the affected areas and analgesics are all that the patient needs to treat the symptoms of tendonitis that can last from a few days to several weeks or months.

For some types, however, there is how to treat tendinitis in different ways that are applied in each case:

- Shoulder Tendonitis

Also called tendinitis in the rotator, it is the inflammation of the supraspinatus muscle tendon, around the top of the shoulder joint. It causes pain when the arm is moved, especially up.

It occurs mainly in the right shoulder of right-handed people and strikes carpenters, painters, welders, swimmers, tennis players and other professionals.

The best way to treat shoulder tendonitis is by promoting tendon healing through resting and avoiding aggravating activities.

It is also sought to correct any anomalies that may have promoted the development of tendonitis, to promote the of the tendon and prevent recurrence through a program of maintaining flexibility, strengthening and conditioning aerobic.

Surgery is generally only recommended after six months and if all non-surgical treatments do not result in resolution of pain and restoration of shoulder function.

- Tendonitis in the elbow

Tendonitis "tennis elbow" causes pain on the outside of the elbow joint. It affects about half of adult athletes who play racquet sports.

Already the tendonitis "elbow of the golfer" causes pain in the inner side of the elbow. It is more related to occupations that require repeated elbow movements as in construction work.

The common symptom of both is the pain in the lateral of the elbow and the treatment aims at the relief of the pain. For this, the most recommended is protection of the elbow, rest, ice packs, compression, elevation and medications.

Doctors point out that the drugs help treat the associated pain, but the medication alone does not promote healing.

Resting, using warmth, therapeutic exercises and exercise programs or exercises help increase circulation and promote revascularization of injured tissues.

In physiotherapy clinics, electrodes and ice are used in the healing process of inflammation and pain.

All tissues, even the injured tendons, require movement, so total immobilization is contraindicated. It can result in muscle atrophy, weakness, and decreased vascularity of the elbow.

- Tendonitis in the knee

The most common form of knee tendonitis occurs in the patellar tendon, the lower border of the patella, or the quadriceps tendon, at the upper edge of the kneecap. It is a common stress injury, especially in players and runners.

To treat most tendinitis that may occur in the knee area is indicated a program that includes:

  • Modification of activities: Decrease activities that cause knee pressure such as jumping and squatting. And start scheduled light load exercises;
  • Cryotherapy: Apply ice for about 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day, especially after activity;
  • Assessment of movements: Evaluate hip, knee and ankle to investigate associated complications;
  • Stretching: Stretching hip and knee flexor muscles, hip and knee extensors, and other adjacent ones to strengthen and support the injured area;
  • Perform treatment accompanied by ultrasound to reduce pain;
  • In case of rupture of the tendon it is necessary to involve repairing surgical treatment.

- Tendinitis in wrist

Also called Quervain's disease, it is a condition that causes pain, inflammation and swelling in the back of the wrist at the base of the thumb. In some cases, the thumb stiffens in one position because the tendons in the palm also inflame. Often a lump is formed along the tendon.

The goal in treating Quervain's tendonitis is to relieve pain caused by irritation and swelling.

The following non-surgical treatments are initially indicated:

  • Use of splints: splints can be used to rest the thumb and the wrist;
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines: Medications can be taken orally or injected directly into the tendon to help reduce swelling and relieve pain;
  • Avoid activities that cause pain and swelling: Rest may cause symptoms to improve on their own depending on the severity of the injury;
  • Injection of corticosteroids. Injecting corticosteroids into the tendon can help reduce swelling and pain.

Surgery may be recommended if the symptoms are severe or do not improve with the above procedures. In surgery, the thumb is open and creates more space along the inflamed tendons.

Regardless of how to treat tendonitis in the wrist, it is recommended that mobility be resumed as soon as the discomfort has passed and strength has returned. The orthopedist is the professional to indicate the ideal treatment for each case.

- Achilles heel tendonitis or Achilles heel

This is a common injury in both sportsmen and people who wear poorly fitting shoes. The Achilles tendon lies between the heel and the calf muscle.

It can be treated simply by reducing the movements of the ankle. In more serious cases the types of treatment that can help are:

  • Cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling. It is recommended to do this for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone;
  • Wear an ankle strap to protect the injured tendon from even greater pressure;
  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin to decrease pain and swelling. These drugs can cause side effects such as bleeding and ulcers and should only be used with a prescription;
  • Perform movement exercises to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility that can be recommended by the doctor to be done three to five times a day;
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen and lengthen muscles;
  • Take injections of steroids or analgesics to temporarily relieve swelling and pain around the joint;
  • More serious cases may need surgery to remove the damaged part of the tendon and repair the remainder. Surgery, when performed well, works in about 85% to 90% of cases.


The diagnosis of tendonitis is made through consultation with the orthopedic doctor to determine the type, intensity and location of the pain.

In most cases, the diagnosis is made based on the medical history, the symptoms presented and the physical examination results, together with the occupational history and practice of the physical activities of the patient.

Some cases may require blood tests to look for other causes of inflammation around the joints, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. X-rays can also be done to confirm the existence of fracture, dislocation or bone disease. In specific cases, ultrasound or MRI may be required to help assess the extent of tendon damage.

How to treat tendonitis with anti-inflammatory foods

The food we eat can have a definite impact on the overall levels of inflammation in our body. Nutritionists warn that some foods can help treat and even prevent injury, while others cause swelling and slow recovery in inflammatory processes.


Some anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Green leafy vegetables:Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that fight against oxidative stress, a major cause of inflammation. Regularly include cabbage, broccoli, spinach and other greens in meals. They are rich in antioxidants and loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K and minerals that speed up the healing process;
  • Proteins: Proteins are essential for the repair of injured tissues. A good rule of thumb is to eat at least 100 grams of high-quality protein per meal. Some of the best choices are fish, raw milk and eggs. Another benefit of these foods is that most contain zinc, responsible for the development and repair of fibrous tissues;
  • Fruits:Some are rich in vitamin C, which helps rebuild collagen, an essential component of tissues. Others are sources of antioxidants that fight against free radical damage, one of the causes of the increase in lesions at a later age. Fruits may still contain specific nutrients such as bromelain present in pineapple, a compound perfect for treating swellings and lesions;
  • Foods rich in potassium and magnesium:Foods rich in potassium, such as coconut water, avocado and green bananas, can accelerate healing. The magnesium found in these same foods is also important for muscle recovery and improving circulation;
  • Marrow:Marrow is a natural source of collagen, beneficial for tendon healing as it helps to develop new tissues. In addition to tendinitis, marrow is also recommended for the recovery of sprains, strains and ligament injuries.

Did you completely understand how to treat tendonitis? What type do you suffer most often? Comment below!

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