According to the article "Flexor Tendon Injuries" by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. When muscles contract, tendons pull on bones." Over time, repeated muscle contractions through exercise, sports or certain work tasks can result in a pulled tendon in one of the body's joints (i.e., elbow, shoulder, knees, hip, neck, fingers and even the back vertebrae). Treatments for pulled tendons are similar to other injuries or conditions such as tendinitis in that the usual recourse is a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and rehabilitation exercises.
Things You'll Need
- Joint brace
- Ice pack or hand towel (with larger towel)
- Heating pad
Treating Your Pulled Tendon
Stop all physical activity or exercise that affects your pulled tendon. Wear a joint brace as often as possible to limit joint movement.
Take two ibuprofen or naproxen pills every 4-6 hours throughout the day. Continue taking this anti-inflammatory medication until your pulled tendon has healed.
Put some ice in an ice pack or inside a hand towel. Strap or tie the ice pack or hand towel (use larger towel for tying) around the joint so that the ice is compressed directly against the pulled tendon and pain source. Leave the ice on your injured area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this procedure every 3-4 hours until inflammation and swelling have subsided.
Once your initial swelling and inflammation are under control, use a heating pad several times per day. Continue using the heating pad every day until your pulled tendon has healed completely.
Once the initial inflammation has subsided, stretch your tendon as follows: If your joint moves in two directions (i.e., knee), slowly stretch the tendon in one direction as far as possible. Hold that position for 15-30 seconds. Subsequently, stretch your tendon in the opposite direction as far as you can, and hold that position for 15-30 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions in each direction. Limit your range of motion to movements that do not cause additional pain in your tendon. If you have a tendon that moves in more than two directions (i.e., wrist), also stretch your tendon to one side then the other, holding each movement for 15-30 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions in both directions.
Tips & Warnings
- It is important to use ice on your pulled tendon the first 48-72 hours after the onset of symptoms. Ice causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), which minimizes inflammation and consequential pain by limiting the flow of blood and lymph fluid to the affected tendon. Once the initial inflammation is under control, heat can promote blood (with healing properties such as oxygen and vitamin C) flow to the tendon. You might consider massaging your tendon once you start using a heating pad. Massage can help relax the nerves and tendons, alleviating pain. Massage also reduces scar tissue, which is a major contributor to recurring tendon injuries.
- Never start any rehabilitation exercises too soon or you can exacerbate your injury. See your doctor if pain persists despite treatment.
What Is a Muscle Pull?
A muscle pull is when a tendon and the surrounding muscles are strained. A strain occurs when the muscle and tendon are...
Symptoms of a Torn Arm Muscle
If you have ever exercised, chances are there have been pulled muscles along the way. Arm muscles are very susceptible to being...
Difference Between a Pulled & Torn Muscle Tendon
A pulled muscle and a torn muscle are the same thing. Pulled or torn muscles are frequently due to overworking or overstraining...
How to Treat a Muscle Pull
A muscle pull occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its capability and some muscle fibers tear. Muscle pulls range from mild...
How to Tell If You Have Pulled a Muscle
Pulled muscles are caused by straining and overexerting the muscles, usually during exercise. Tears occur in the muscle, allowing fluid to build...
How to Heal a Pulled Muscle Faster
A pulled muscle can be very unpleasant. It can cause extreme pain, even when doing the smallest daily tasks. Continue reading to...
How to Treat a Torn Tendon in a Shoulder
A shoulder tendon is the tissue that connects the muscle to the bone. These tendons can be torn from strenuous weight lifting,...
How to Repair Torn Tendons in the Wrist
Injuries sustained to your wrist can result in serious sprains, or worse, a torn tendon. Your tendons are fibrous tissues that connect...
How to Treat a Pulled Ligament Muscle
A pulled ligament is a common condition that is caused by overuse or accidental injury. Pulling a ligament is an especially common...
How to Treat Muscles Pulled From Bones
Injuries that cause a muscle to pull away completely from the bone are called tendon avulsion injuries. In this case, the tendon...
What to Do for a Pulled Muscle
A pulled muscle is damage done to a muscle in your body as the result of some sort of physical activity. If...
Treatment for a Pulled Leg Muscle
The most commonly pulled leg muscles are the calf, which is on the lower leg behind the shin bone; the quad, or...
Pulled Knee Muscle Treatment
A pulled or strained muscle can be a painful and debilitating injury, especially around the knee. When a muscle is stretched too...
What Can You Do for a Pulled or Torn Ligament?
A torn ligament occurs when a joint is twisted or overstretched. Most torn ligaments occur in the knees or the ankles. They...