Tendinosis Treatments

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Treatment approaches to tendinosis include taking pain relief medication and making lifestyle changes such as adjusting posture when sitting or strengthening the joints through exercise.

There are various other approaches to managing this condition and they differ depending on the severity of symptoms and which tendon is affected.

Some measures people can take if they have tendinosis include:

  • Stopping whichever activity has caused the condition such as typing or playing a sport. This should prevent further damage and inflammation.
  • Resting the affected tendon to reduce inflammation.
  • Applying some form of support such as a splint, brace or bandage to help reduce movement.
  • Visiting a physiotherapist, who uses techniques to relieve pain and help people regain function of the affected area. Some of these techniques include exercises, massage, lasers and ultrasound.
  • Applying ice packs to cause vessel constriction and prevent abnormal neovascularisation or blood vessel formation at the affected tendons.
  • Taking dietary supplements such as amino acids has been reported to improve symptoms, although no evidence yet exists to support this.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or aceclofenac.

Usually, tendinosis improves over time and surgery is not required, but in some severe cases surgery is considered as an option.

  • Corticosteroids can be injected into the joint spaces to reduce inflammation. These injections can relieve pain but they can cause side effects such as thinning of the skin.

Overall, the treatment of tendinosis aims to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Increase range of motion and strength
  • Enable return to normal daily activities without pain
  • Prevent further damage
  • Prevent recurrence

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2014

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  1. Kathryn Hendrikson Kathryn Hendrikson United States says:

    In your article, you are mixing tendinitis with tendinosis. Tendinitis is when you have an area that is inflamed due to an acute injury, such as getting into a car accident or twisting your ankle. Your ankle will get bigger because the muscles are protecting the tendon that has just been torn. Tendinosis is a degeneration of a tendon's collagen in response to chronic overuse. You are saying above to treat tendinosis the same way that you would treat tendinitis, which is something totally different. There is no inflammation where there is tendinosis. The tendons are degenerating, getting weaker and smaller. It takes up to 2 weeks to heal from a sprained ankle, tendinitis, where it can take 6-12 weeks to heal properly from a tendinosis injury. Ice and ibuprofen are not the answer to healing from tendinosis because there is nothing that needs to be un-inflamed. I got my information from the same sites you did and I also talked to some physical therapists and doctors and I'm a music student as an undergrad. I have been told time after time that I had tendinitis when I really had tendinosis. Why would you need to take an anti-inflammatory if nothing is inflamed? Yes, it may kill the pain for the time being, but it's not going to un-inflame what is not inflamed to begin with.

    • Melinda Jones Melinda Jones United States says:

      Kathryn, a sprain is a ligament tear not a tendon tear, and sprains can take significantly longer than 2 weeks to fully heal. The swelling of a sprain is not the "muscles getting bigger to protect the tendon" but increased bloodflow and lymph  at the injured area to promote healing. But you are right about tendinosis vs tendinitis. Ecxcept that ice has been shown to improve tendinosis because it resticts the associated formation of abnormal blood vessels.

  2. Steve Gom Yi Steve Gom Yi United States says:

    I am a personal trainer and an avid weight lifter. I am suffering from tendinosis, and like many others, i was told that it was tendinitis at first. I sought a second opinion from a sports medicine doctor that was well-informed in this matter (since he deals with athletes and sports medicine is what he specializes in). The doctor who gave me my initial diagnosis told me that i should ice and rest my elbow in order to treat it. It seemed like the pain would go away but as soon as i tried to slowly make my way back to training, it would feel worst than before. my sports med doctor told me NOT to ice and that one of the most effective ways of treating tendinosis is through training. Being a personal trainer, i drew out a program that fit what my doctor had told me. 3 weeks in, my elbow was feeling much much better and I was able to ease my way back to what my training regiments were before. Tendinosis is very common among people who weight lift, and it is misconceived that rest is the best way to treat this when all it does is irritate it. Proper training and nutrition is the way to go. NSAID's irritate tendinosis as well. I'm not saying I'm a medical specialist, but being a trainer who absolutely cares about the well-being of my body, I would not do anything that would harm my body. again, icing and resting actually irritates tendinosis and the best method of treatment is PROPER training and exercise.

  3. Steve Gom Yi Steve Gom Yi United States says:

    Also, in most cases, surgery doesn't benefit tendinosis patients.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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