The goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve your pain and reduce inflammation. Often, taking care of tendinitis on your own — including rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers — may be all the treatment that you need.
For tendinitis, your doctor may recommend these medications:
Pain relievers. Taking aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) may relieve discomfort associated with tendinitis.
Topical creams with anti-inflammatory medication — popular in Europe and becoming increasingly available in the United States —also may be effective in relieving pain without the potential side effects of taking anti-inflammatory medications by mouth.
Corticosteroids. Sometimes your doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication around a tendon to relieve tendinitis. Injections of cortisone reduce inflammation and can help ease pain.
Corticosteroids are not recommended for chronic tendinitis (lasting over three months), as repeated injections may weaken a tendon and increase your risk of rupturing the tendon.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP treatment involves taking a sample of your own blood and spinning the blood to separate out the platelets and healing factors. The solution is then re-injected into the area of chronic tendon irritation.
Though still under investigation, PRP injection in the region of chronic tendon irritation has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic tendon conditions.
You might benefit from a program of specific exercise designed to stretch and strengthen the affected muscle-tendon unit. For instance, eccentric strengthening — which emphasizes contraction of a muscle while it's lengthening — has been shown to be effective in treating chronic tendon inflammation.
Surgical and other procedures
Depending on the severity of your tendon injury, surgical repair may be needed, especially if the tendon has torn away from the bone.
For chronic tendon inflammation, focused aspiration of scar tissue (FAST) is a minimally invasive treatment option using ultrasound guidance and very small instruments designed to remove tendon scar tissue without disturbing the surrounding healthy tendon tissue.
FAST achieves the same goal as open surgery but is performed under local anesthesia in a nonsurgical setting. Most people return to normal activities within one to two months.
Nov. 14, 2014
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- 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.