Tendon Injury (Tendinopathy) - Topic Overview
In most cases, you can treat a
tendon injury at home. To get the best results, start these steps right away:
- Rest the painful area, and avoid any
activity that makes the pain worse.
- Apply ice or cold packs for
10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as 2 times an hour, for the first 72
hours. Keep using ice as long as it helps.
- Take over-the-counter
pain relievers such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen)
if you need them.
- Do gentle
range-of-motion exercises and stretching to prevent
As soon as you are better, you can return to your
activity, but take it easy for a while. Don't start at the same level as before
your injury. Build back to your previous level slowly, and stop if it hurts.
Warm up before you exercise, and do some gentle stretching afterward. After the
activity, apply ice to prevent pain and swelling.
If these steps
don't help, your doctor may suggest physical therapy. If the injury is severe
or long-lasting, your doctor may have you use a splint, brace, or cast to hold
the tendon still. See a picture of a
night brace used for an Achilles tendon injury .
It may take
weeks or months for a tendon injury to heal. Be patient, and stay with your
treatment. If you start using the injured tendon too soon, it can lead to more
To keep from hurting your tendon again, you may need to
make some long-term changes to your activities.
- Try changing your activities or how you do
them. For example, if running caused the injury, try swimming some days. If the
way you use a tool is the problem, try switching hands or changing your grip.
- If exercise caused the problem, take lessons or ask a trainer or
pro to check your technique.
- If your job caused the tendon injury,
ask your human resource department if there are other ways to do your
- Always take time to warm up before and stretch after you
Frequently Asked Questions