What Can You Do to Make Tendonitis Pain Go Away? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on September 09, 2016

What Can You Do to Make Tendonitis Pain Go Away?

The chronic aching pain and burning sensation in your elbow or shoulder doesn’t only affect your tennis game. It’s with you at the office, while you’re running errands and may even keep you up at night. The pain you’re experiencing is a tendon injury referred to as tendonitis or tendinosis.

Your doctor may switch back and forth between these terms when describing your injury. Tendonitis is the acute stage of the tendon injury that is accompanied by inflammation. Tendinosis is the accumulation over time of microscopic tendon injuries that don’t heal properly. In either case, it’s no fun. You’ll be experiencing pain, stiffness and loss of mobility.

Fortunately, there is a combination of treatments that can help you to alleviate your pain – some that you can do yourself, and others that will require input from your doctor.

Tendonitis Doesn’t Only Affect Athletes

Tendonitis causes pain and soreness around a joint. It’s commonly described by the sport that is most likely to cause it: golfer’s or tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder and jumper’s knee. Athletes taking part in these sports sometimes suffer from tendonitis because they overuse these body parts.

However, tendonitis doesn’t only affect athletes. Over time, our tendons become less elastic and do not tolerate stress as well as they once did. This puts older adults at greater risk for developing tendonitis. Even everyday activities like gardening, playing a musical instrument and raking leaves can increase your risk for developing tendonitis.

Alleviating the Pain of Tendonitis at Home

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so avoiding tendonitis should be your primary strategy. Warm up before starting an activity, especially those that involve repetitive motions. Take frequent breaks and stop the activity if it starts to cause pain.

If you’re already dealing with tendonitis, these remedies can help:

  • Rest: Stop all activities that involve the injured tendon for a few days. This may give the tendon enough time to repair and heal.
  • Ice: Apply an icepack wrapped in a towel to the injured tendon for 5-10 minutes, three times per day.
  • Use anti-inflammatories: Take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to help alleviate your pain and reduce inflammation. Use it only as directed on the label or by your doctor.
  • Wear a brace or sling: Immobilize the injured tendon with a brace to provide added support. This will also ensure that you don’t overuse the injured tendon.

How Your Doctor Can Help

If home remedies do not alleviate your pain, it may be time to talk to your doctor. There are new and minimally invasive procedures that can help.

Steven Collina, M.D., who specializes in sports medicine at Crozer-Keystone Health System, uses the Tenex Health TX procedure to help patients with chronic tendon disease and pain. Using a very small incision, he inserts an ultrasound probe near the injured tendon. This probe vibrates at a frequency that breaks down and removes the injured tissue, while leaving the healthy tissue intact.

Patients have experienced similar or better results with this procedure compared to more invasive surgeries, and the recovery is only half as long. Many patients are able to start resuming normal activities just one week after the procedure.

If you’re experiencing tendon pain that you think may be tendonitis or tendinosis, contact your doctor for advice on how to alleviate your pain and heal your injury.

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