Tendons are fibrous structures that join muscle to bone, according to the National Institutes of Health. Tendonitis, or tendinitis, is the inflammation, swelling, and irritation of a tendon caused by overuse, injury, or aging. Certain diseases, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, may also cause tendonitis. The primary symptom of tendonitis involves pain along a tendon, typically near a joint, which is often worse at night and with movement. The American College of Rheumatology states that tendonitis is usually temporary if treated promptly.
Immobilize the affected tendon to encourage healing. A splint or brace may be used to keep the affected limb stationary while the tendon heals. Failure to rest the tendon may result in continuing symptoms, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication should not be taken long-term due to an increased risk of stomach bleeding, liver problems, and ulcers, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Elevate the affected tendon, especially after activity, to reduce inflammation and swelling. When tendonitis occurs in a leg or other limb, elevating the affected limb above the level of your heart will reduce inflammation.
Apply alternating ice and heat to the affected area, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This helps reduce swelling and may alleviate the discomfort caused by tendonitis. The Mayo Clinic recommends applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes, three or four times each day.
Ask your doctor about steroid injections, which can be given directly into the tendon sheath to promote healing and reduce pain. The Mayo Clinic warns that repeated injections increase the risk of tendon rupture and may weaken the tendon permanently.
Engage in physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the affected tendon. Physical therapy will help restore functioning, speed healing, and reduce the likelihood of future injury.
Undergo surgery to remove inflammatory tissue around the tendon. According to the Cleveland Clinic, surgery is focused on removing the lining around the tendon, inspecting the tendon for rips, and repairing any damage. Sometimes, the tendon may need to be shortened or lengthened.