To treat tendinitis at home, R.I.C.E. is the acronym to remember — rest, ice, compression and elevation. This treatment can help speed your recovery and help prevent further problems.
- Rest. Avoid activities that increase the pain or swelling. Don't try to work or play through the pain. Rest is essential to tissue healing. But it doesn't mean complete bed rest. You can do other activities and exercises that don't stress the injured tendon. Swimming and water exercise may be well-tolerated.
- Ice. To decrease pain, muscle spasm and swelling, apply ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Ice packs, ice massage or slush baths with ice and water all can help. For an ice massage, freeze a plastic foam cup full of water so that you can hold the cup while applying the ice directly to the skin.
- Compression. Because swelling can result in loss of motion in an injured joint, compress the area until the swelling has ceased. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages are best.
- Elevation. If tendinitis affects your knee, raise the affected leg above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
Although rest is a key part of treating tendinitis, prolonged inactivity can cause stiffness in your joints. After a few days of completely resting the injured area, gently move it through its full range of motion to maintain joint flexibility.
You can also try over-the-counter medications — such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) — in an attempt to reduce the discomfort associated with tendinitis.
Nov. 14, 2014
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- Bursitis and tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/default.asp. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- Tendinitis and bursitis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Tendinitis_and_Bursitis/. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- Khan K, et al. Overview of overuse (chronic) tendinopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- Khan K, et al. Overview of the management of overuse (chronic) tendinopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- Protect your tendons: Preventing the pain of tendinitis. National Institute of Health News in Health. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/jun2014/feature2. Accessed Oct. 2, 2014.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 7, 2014.
- Andia I, et al. Platelet-rich plasma in the conservative treatment of painful tendinopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled studies. British Medical Bulletin. 2014;110:99.
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