How Do You Treat Tendonitis?



At Preferred Physical Therapy we often get patients coming to us with a diagnosis of tendonitis in some form which in some cases is accurate, but often this isn’t completely accurate. Often patients have overuse injuries in their tendons related to an overload of the surrounding area versus an area that is just inflamed. The area is usually related to poor tissue that we are demanding too much from. Common areas of tendinosis or tendinopathy you may have heard of or experienced may be lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), Achilles tendinopathy, biceps tendinosis, or patellar tendinopathy.

So now that we are more clear that this is related to overloading our tissues versus just inflammation in the area we can talk more easily about what to do about it! The first step is making sure that you are properly diagnosed. If you aren’t diagnosed correctly, you likely won’t receive the correct treatment. This is where a medical professional such as a doctor, PA, PT, etc. can help you make sure you are on the right track. Here are a few things to do to start getting on the right track.

Stop Overusing or Overdoing Movements that Cause Pain!

Now that doesn’t mean just rest it and do nothing! When you go back to doing the activities that you enjoy or need to do, nothing will have changed. However, finding different tools or equipment that are more ergonomically correct allows you to avoid unnecessary strain on your body. Also breaking up necessary job tasks into shorter durations if possible and then going on to a different task to decrease the amount of repetitive strain on your body.

Read this blog to find out what you can do right now about your elbow pain.

Treat the WHOLE Area!

It’s easy to focus your attention on the area that hurts, but often you may have increased tightness or weakness in a surrounding area that is contributing to the increased demand on your painful tendon. For example, “if my elbow hurts I should investigate if I have some weakness or tightness in my shoulder or wrist that may be making my elbow do more work?”

Do Some ECCENTRIC Exercises!

Eccentric exercises are great for working overloaded tendons. These will help the tendon regenerate or heal by improving blood flow and strength to the region. Eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under the load. Eccentrics tend to be stronger and require less energy than a concentric contraction.

If you’d like more tips and advice on how to properly treat your elbow pain, check out this technique video where our PTA, Colton, demonstrates a few common mistakes that people make at the gym that typically contribute to elbow pain. Check it out here:

Alyssa Charbonneau, PT, DPT, ATC, Cert-DN
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