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The best treatment for tendinitis (or tendinosis / tendinopathy)

Updated on July 14, 2015

Treatment for Tendinitis / Tendinosis

A brief bout of tendon inflammation can usually be treated with ice, rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. When a tendon is repeatedly damaged, blood vessels, fluid, and nerves enter the tendon, making it less effective and painful. This persistent condition is known as tendinosis and cannot be treated with rest or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Most people experience this in the elbow (tennis elbow), knee (patellar tendinosis, chronic patellar tendinitis), or the achilles (achilles tendinosis, chronic achilles tendinitis).

Recent studies have shown that the most effective (and cheapest) way of dealing with tendinosis is through eccentric (lengthening) contractions of the muscle attached to the injured tendon. For example, the Achilles tendon is attached to the calf muscles, so an eccentric contraction would be to stand with your toes on the edge of a stair, and slowly lower your heel until it can't go any further. You should then lift yourself back to your toes with both feet and use your hands for support. You should do at least 3 sets of 15 on at least 3 days per week - when it gets too easy, you can wear a backpack.

It may take up to 12 weeks of these exercises to fully heal your tendon, but this is the only known non-surgical method that has shown impressive results. About 75% of patients are able to return to full activity without limitations when they complete the program.

Youtube has several good videos explaining the techniques for each tendon, if you need more instructions. Here are links to videos for healing your achilles, knee, and elbow.

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