How Can I Manage Tendinitis?
Tendinitis, the inflammation of the tendon, can cause acute pain and tenderness just outside the affected joints. It commonly affects shoulders, elbows, wrists, and heels. The affected region may have stiffness that restricts movement. It is also characterized by mild swelling in the joints. In severe cases, tendinitis may result in tendon tears. Under normal conditions, tendinitis can resolve itself with simple home remedies. If the condition persists for more than a week, medical treatment should be sought. The same is true if the pain is severe and accompanied by swelling and loss of movement in the joints.
All methods of treatment try to alleviate pain and inflammation of the tendon and surrounding areas. Corticosteroids and pain relievers are the common medications used for the treatment of this condition. Corticosteroid injections are given around the tendon to reduce the symptoms of tendinitis. This reduces pain and inflammation of the affected tendon. But corticosteroid injections should be taken judiciously. Too much of them can weaken the tendon resulting in a rupture. Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen helps to relieve pain and discomfort. Creams containing anti-inflammatory medication are also helpful in reducing the pain.
Surgery may be needed in case of severe tendon injury or rupture. Physical therapies including stretching exercises that help to strengthen the tendons are also suggested to improve the condition. It also helps in improving the muscle tone of the body. Eccentric strengthening exercises are one such group of activities that focus on improving muscle contractions.
One of the best ways of managing tendinitis is the RICE program. RICE refers to the four steps in the program – rest, ice, compression and elevation of the affected tendon.
- Rest – This emphasizes the avoidance of activities that will increase pain and inflammation so that the tendons get enough time to heal. In this form, one can continue doing all other activities that do not affect or put strain on the tendon. Some amount of physical activity is required to prevent stiffness in the joints.
- Ice – Applying ice to the affected area helps to reduce pain and muscle spasms. Ice can be repeatedly applied on the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time. In some chronic conditions, heat is applied to improve circulation and healing of the affected area.
- Compression – Compression helps to reduce swelling and loss of movement in the affected area. Elastic bandages are often recommended to alleviate swelling.
- Elevation – Raising the leg above heart level prevents further swelling in the region.