Rest the affected area
and avoid any activity that may cause pain. Get enough sleep. To keep your
overall health and fitness, continue exercising but only in ways that do not
stress the affected area. Do not resume an aggravating activity as soon as the
pain stops. Tendons require weeks of additional rest to heal. You may need to
make long-term changes in the types of activities you do or how you do
Apply ice or
cold packs as soon as you notice pain and tenderness in your muscles or near
a joint. Apply ice 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as twice an hour, for
72 hours. Continue applying ice (15 to 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a day) as
long as it relieves pain. Although heating pads may feel good, ice will relieve
pain and inflammation.
Take pain relievers.
Use acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, as
directed for pain relief. NSAIDs also reduce any inflammation
you might have in or around the tendon (tendinitis). NSAIDs come in pills and in a cream that you rub over the sore area. Do not rely on medicine to
relieve pain in order to continue overusing a joint.
Do range-of-motion exercises each day. Gently move your joint
through its full range of motion, even during the time that you are resting the
joint area. This will prevent stiffness in your joint. As the pain goes away,
range-of-motion exercises and add other exercises to
strengthen the muscles around your joint.
Gradually resume your activity at a lower intensity than you maintained before
your symptoms began. Warm up before and stretch after the activity. Increase
your activity slowly, and stop if it hurts. After the activity, apply ice to
prevent pain and swelling.
Avoid tobacco smoke. Tendon injuries heal
more slowly in smokers than in nonsmokers. Smoking delays wound and tissue
To prevent tendon injuries from developing or from
Warm up and stretch.
Warm up before any activity, and stretch gently after you
Strengthen your muscles to reduce
stress on the soft tissues. A physical therapist, an athletic trainer, or your
doctor can teach you specific exercises for strengthening your
Evaluate and change daily activities that tend to cause or aggravate your symptoms. In your daily
routine, change activities involving repeated movements that may strain your
muscles or joints. For example, start alternating hands or change the grip size
of your tool.
Try alternating your usual activities with some new ones. For example, if you like to walk for
exercise and have had Achilles tendon problems, try swimming or doing water
exercise on some days.
Notice what you do and how you do it, and take action if needed.
If you suspect that certain activities at
your workplace are causing a tendon injury, talk to your human resources
department for information on alternative ways of doing your job, equipment
modifications, or other job assignments.
If a certain exercise or
sport is causing a tendon injury, consider taking lessons to learn proper
techniques. Also, have an athletic trainer or person who is familiar with
sports equipment check your equipment to ensure that it is well suited to your
size, strength, and ability. Demonstrate how you use your equipment, and ask
for feedback about any mistakes you might be making.