Tendonitis Treatments

What is Tendonitis?

The quick answer is tendonitis is the irritation or inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is the thick fibrous tissue that connects a muscle to bone. With repetitive movements, a the tendon can get micro tears which can cause inflammation and irritation.

Dr. Kamal Bohsali states "Tendonitis is a general term that we use for inflammation of the tendon of a muscle.  In the shoulder, this involves inflammation of the rotator cuff tendon. Tendonitis is usually a result of repetitive overhead activities of the shoulder.  

This may be due to a new exercise regimen or a work-related obligation. The initial management of this problem, assuming normal x-rays, is activity modification, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, ice, and physical therapy.  Sometimes cortisone injections may be used to reduce the inflammation associated with tendonitis. Tendinitis can be acute or long-standing (chronic).  

Calcific tendonitis is one type of inflammatory process of the rotator cuff tendon.  It involves calcium formation within the tendon. It is uncommon for people to require surgery to address tendinitis of the rotator cuff.  Dr. Kamal I. Bohsali, is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon.   He has special interests in the management of pathologic conditions of the shoulder and elbow. 

Tendonitis is most common in: 

  • shoulders
  • wrists
  • knees
  • heels (Achilles Tendonitis)
  • elbows

Taping for TendonitisImage of Rock Tape for Tendonitis

Some examples of tendonitis are: 

If you want to learn more about shoulder tendonitis, go to Tendonitis of the Shoulder.  

If you want to learn more about shoulder pains, go to: Shoulder Pains.

Causes of Tendonitis

Repetitive movement is the most common cause of tendonitis. Often times, someone’s job or hobby will require the same motion over and over again. This can aggravate the tendon causing tendonitis. Tendonitis can occur with sudden movements or injuries.  This is not as common with a comparison to repetitive movements. 

To avoid tendonitis, it is very important to have the proper form with sports, hobbies and work.  Loading the tendon repetitively with poor form is a common cause of tendonitis.

Common causes are:

  • Gardening
  • Raking
  • Cleaning
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Shoveling
  • Carpentry
  • Throwing
  • Running
  • Golf
  • Bowling

Tendonitis is most common in adults over the age of 40.  As we age, our tendons become less elastic.  Therefore, tendonitis will become more of an issue as we age. 

Tendonitis Treatments

Physical Therapy for Tendonitis

Specific stretching and strengthening exercises may benefit you for tendonitis. The goal is to decrease your pain and return to normal function.  Physical therapy may focus on eccentric exercises, which has been proven to help decrease pain from tendonitis. With tendonitis treatments, the focus is to strengthen the irritated muscle while it is lengthening. Physical therapy is very effective in treating tendonitis. It can also help prevent this issue from coming back.  JOI Rehab has several specialty trained physical and occupational specialists in Jacksonville. They work with our orthopedic physicians with protocols to get rid of your tendonitis for good!  To schedule an appointment with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045. 

Braces and Splints

Braces and splints can allow the tendon to heal and help avoid demanding activities. Often times, these will be worn at work to decrease pain.  The brace may decrease the stress and demand on the tendon/muscle. These tendonitis treatments are very effective in allowing rest and time to heal.

Medications for Tendonitis

Over the counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can help reduce some of the pain associated with tendonitis. Please consult with your physician before taking any new medication. 

Injections for Tendonitis

Corticosteroid injections are common because they work quickly and decrease inflammation and pain.  There are other injections that may also be helpful.  PRP is another option but is usually not covered by your insurance plan. 


  • R - rest
  • I - ice
  • C - compression
  • E - elevation

JOI Rehab RICE TechniqueImage of a dog resting

Taking some time off from the activity which causes the condition is very important.  If you have tennis elbow, you need to stop playing tennis to allow the tendon to heal.  Ice, compression, and elevation can help to decrease inflammation and swelling.

Other Tendonitis Treatments

Laser: JOI Rehab has 3 locations which offer laser treatments to help with tendonitis. The Graston Technique is also very effective.  Graston is the use of tools that provide soft tissue mobilization. 

Surgery: Surgery may be an option if your tendon has torn away from the bone.  You certainly should seek out the advice of an orthopedic surgeon. 

Dry needling: This is the use of a needle (like acupuncture) to put tiny holes in the tendon.  The goal is to at decrease the pain and stimulate healing.

Preventing Tendonitis

There are several way to prevent tendonitis.  Here are a few ideas from JOI Rehab: 

  • Keep your muscles strong

Strengthening the muscles you are going to use repetitively, depending on your hobby, work, or sport, can help allow the muscles to tolerate loads and decrease risk of tendonitis.

  • Stretch

Stretch after your exercise to improve tissue mobility and flexibility. 

  • Rest

Stop and rest if you feel a certain activity is causing pain or aggravating your symptoms.

By: Ehren Allen PT/Certified Manual Therapist  

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with a JOI Orthopaedic Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click below. 

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