Tendinitis Self-Care Information

Tendinitis can be a very excruciating or painful occurrence, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. It occurs when your tendons, whether in your ankle, knee, elbow, etc., become overworked and stressed. If you think you have a severe case of tendinitis or you might have a more severe problem, consult a medical professional immediately. Most cases, however, can be treated at home.

When treating tendinitis at home, remember the PRICE acronym. It stands for the activities you should be participating in: protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Doing these will make your recovery is as quick as possible and it will help prevent further problems.

PRICE means:

  • Protection. You need to immobilize the area on your body that is affected so it cannot only heal, but is not harmed from further injury. You can protect it by using slings, splints, crutches, or elastic wraps depending on the location of the injury.
  • Rest. You need to stay clear of activities that increase the pain or swelling of your injured tendon. If you’re in pain and work or play through it, you’ll delay the healing process. Stick to activities that don’t aggravate your injury, like swimming.
  • Ice. To limit your pain, including muscle spasm and swelling, you should apply ice to the injured area on your body for up to 20 minutes. Do this several times a day. You can use ice packs, ice massage, or slush bathes consisting of ice and water, whatever you are more comfortable with.
  • Compression. You need to compress the area of injury until the swelling has decreased. This is because swelling can cause a loss in the motion of an injured joint. Elastic bandages (ACE) or wraps will suffice.
  • Elevation. If the tendinitis is in your knee, raise your leg above your heart. This reduces swelling and will make the pain diminish or go away completely.

While rest is recommended for treating tendinitis or any illness, having prolonged periods of inactivity can be detrimental to healing. Sitting still for too long can cause stiffness in your joints – as such, after a few days of rest begin moving it and using it as usual.

Medications that are anti-inflammatory

There are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) that you can take to help try and reduce the discomfort that comes with tendinitis. This includes aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc) and products containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you need to take NSAIDs for more than a week or so. Taking them for prolonged periods of time can cause many severe side effects.

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