Tendonitis, a common orthopedic condition, can cause significant pain and discomfort. It is characterized by inflammation or irritation of a tendon, which are the thick cords that attach muscles to bones. The most common areas affected by tendonitis include the elbow, shoulder, wrist, and knee. While there are various treatment options available, this blog will focus on the main treatments for tendonitis and their effectiveness.
Rest and Activity Modification
One of the fundamental principles of treating tendonitis is to give the affected tendon time to heal. Rest and activity modification are often the initial steps in managing this condition. By reducing or avoiding activities that exacerbate the symptoms, you can prevent further damage to the affected tendon and promote healing. Resting the affected area also helps reduce inflammation and pain.
Physical therapy is a cornerstone of tendonitis treatment. A skilled physical therapist can assess your condition and create a tailored exercise program to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected tendon, improve flexibility, and promote healing. Physical therapy can also include techniques such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and manual therapy to reduce pain and inflammation.
Pain Medication and Anti-Inflammatories
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with tendonitis. However, these medications should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as long-term use can have side effects.
Taking herbal and other natural supplements can aid in reducing inflammation. Turmeric and fish oil are good options. An ant-inflammatory diet may also be helpful.
In some cases, when the pain and inflammation are severe, a healthcare provider may recommend corticosteroid injections. These injections deliver anti-inflammatory medication directly to the affected area, providing temporary relief. While they can be effective in the short term, repeated corticosteroid injections are not recommended, as they may weaken the tendon over time.
Orthotics and Bracing
Orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or braces, can provide support and alleviate stress on the affected tendon. These aids can help with alignment and reduce pressure on the tendon during physical activities.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-energy shock waves to stimulate the healing process in the affected tendon. It can be particularly effective for chronic cases of tendonitis that do not respond to other treatments.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP therapy involves injecting a concentrated solution of the patient’s own platelets into the affected area. Platelets contain growth factors that can accelerate the healing process. PRP therapy has shown promise in treating tendonitis, especially in cases where other treatments have been less effective.
Amniotic Membrane Injections
Sterile, particulate human amniotic membrane and umbilical cord tissue products can be injected into tendons to promote healing similar to stem cells.
In rare and severe cases of tendonitis, when conservative treatments fail, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options can include tendon debridement (removing damaged tissue), tendon repair, or in some cases, a tendon transfer.
The Tenex procedure is a minimally invasive percutaneous procedure through a small incision that helps remove diseased tissue
The main treatment for tendonitis typically involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and, in some cases, medications or other specialized treatments. The choice of treatment depends on the severity and location of the tendonitis, as well as the individual’s overall health and response to therapy. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment plan. With proper care and management, most cases of tendonitis can be successfully treated, allowing individuals to return to their regular activities pain-free.