Is Rest the Only Treatment for Tendonitis?

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 03:42 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: What's the best treatment for tendonitis in my ankle? My doctor says to just rest it. But isn't there something I can do? I like to jog and don't want to stop.

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Tendonitis is a condition of inflammation of a tendon, usually from trauma or partial tearing or an injury. A tendon connects a muscle to bone. Tendon problems can be just as serious as bone fractures, and are often mismanaged because the extent of injury is not recognized due to incomplete examination.  
 
The advice you were given was good. I prefer to rest tendon injuries for five to seven days, then recommend a gradual return to regular activities over the next two the three weeks. Bear in mind that tendon injuries may take six weeks to heal fully, and even longer if they are torn and not repaired or managed properly.
 
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Some more serious injuries may need splinting or casting and treatment similar to fracture care, and these are usually cases that are best managed with the consultation of an orthopedic specialist. Pain that persists or the inability to bear weight should be evaluated by a scan, including MRI imaging.  Re-injured tendon tissue heals with scar tissue, and is not as elastic as uninjured tissue.
 
Recurrent tendon injuries should be avoided when possible with proper protective equipment, and proper warm up exercises before athletic activity.


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