Length of time for tendonitis to healHealing time depends on the overall health, age, and how serious the tendonitis is.
- A mild case for a person under 40 could heal in two to four weeks
- A moderate case in 4 to 6 weeks
- An extreme case can take months
Symptoms and SignsMild cases can feel like sore muscles. However, moderate symptoms, depending on the affected area, can include:
ShoulderWhen reaching for something or lifting an object, pain is felt in the shoulder.
ElbowPain sometimes can be sharp on the outside of the elbow joint. This along with sore muscles or muscles that are painful to the touch. In the forearm and wrist, it can happen in the inner elbow but is not as common.
WristPain is usually in the inner joint of the wrist or below the thumb. And the joint is tender/sensitive to the touch. It can make driving a painful task.
In the KneeSwelling and stiffness are common, along with pain when bending, walking, or when putting weight on the affected knee.
In the FootPain is felt in the Achilles and the foot is tender/sensitive when walking.
If left untreated will it go away on its own?In certain cases. it can but one should never ignore pain symptoms. Pain is the bodyâ€™s way of telling the individual that there is something wrong.
Resting the affected tendonsThe first thing a doctor will say is that the painful area needs to rest from various types of activities. Rest works to alleviate the symptoms of only the mildest forms of tendonitis. Most individuals are unaware that they have tendonitis until it reaches the moderate stage. Resting the affected area does help, however, even with moderate damage, rest alone probably wonâ€™t take care of the inflammation. An individual will need to do some sort of stretching/strengthening/rehabilitation of the area. Otherwise, when returning to normal activities including what caused the injury the individual is only going to overuse the tendon/s again.
Difficult to completely rest the affected joint/sCompletely resting the arm, hand, shoulder, or foot for 4-6 weeks is a serious challenge. Most individuals will not be able to accomplish this with their job, children, and all the other responsibilities that they have for 4-6 weeks. Most individuals can take a week, but even then don’t really stop using the affected joint completely. When the regular routine returns along with the activity/job that caused the tendonitis, because of the light rest, the pain comes back within a few days to a few weeks.
It can become a chronic condition left untreatedWhen left untreated tendonitis can become chronic. What happens is the constant inflammation progressively becomes chronic. Healing chronic tendonitis is a long and painful process that can require surgery. A chronic case can take months to heal along with rehabilitation to strengthen the affected tendons. Chronic cases can feel like a knife being driven into the joint, even with simple tasks like turning/pulling a door handle.
Avoiding surgeryContinued use of the joint means inflammation will continue and it will get worse. In severe cases, where conservative treatment/s has not helped surgery could be required. When it comes to tendon surgery, it does not heal like a broken bone. After the surgery, the joint can become permanently stiff and the full range of motion does not return. Healing time is around 12 weeks, depending on the overall health, age, and severity. A full recovery could take as long as 6 months. Avoiding surgery can be accomplished if proper treatment is sought out as soon as there is a feeling of joint tingling, numbness, and pain.
Healing treatmentGetting treatment as soon as possible is key. Even if the pain is not tendonitis but a pulled muscle, the body will heal faster with the proper treatment. Chiropractors are highly skilled specialists in the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic care that includes manipulation, massage, ultrasound, etc. has shown to be highly effective in the treatment of tendonitis. Depending on the diagnosis, a chiropractor will utilize other therapies as a part of the treatment plan, including:
- Therapeutic massage
- Heat therapy
- Rehabilitation exercise
- Rehabilitation stretching
- Cold laser therapy
- Ergonomic changes to the workstation
- Taking anti-inflammatory supplements
- Refer the individual to a different specialist if other issues fall outside of their range of practice.
Tendonitis left untreatedUntreated tendonitis can lead to the permanent weakening of the tendon. This can lead to a rupture of the tendon, which requires surgery. It can also cause permanent damage to the tissues surrounding the area, as well as, scar tissue can form in and around the area. The pain and inflammation continue because the scar tissue is not as flexible as tendons. This often causes individuals to force the affected joint to work harder causing added inflammation. Untreated tendonitis can turn into a life-long issue that interferes with everyday activities like getting dressed, walking, eating, etc. Get started with a proper treatment and recovery plan to get back to living a healthy, pain-free life.
Tracking inflammation/fluid imbalances from injury or surgeryAfter surgery or injury, inflammation can present with little or no visible symptoms. Precise measures of the body’s water can detect water retention and inflammation. This could help guide rehabilitation treatment. InBody effectively distinguishes water in the intracellular/within the tissues and extracellular/in the blood/interstitial fluids water that comprises total body water. The Edema Index can be used to detect fluid imbalances resulting from inflammation brought on by injury or surgery recovery. By assessing fluid balance in the body, inflammation can be identified, used to guide treatment options, and reduce the risk of re-injury or post-surgery complications. Tracking these values back to normal will help therapists by providing proof of the success of the treatment plan.
Dr. Alex Jimenezâ€™s Blog Post DisclaimerThe scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
ReferencesSharma P, Maffulli N. Biology of tendon injury: healing, modeling, and remodeling. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2006;6(2):181-90. Dean BJF, et al., Review: Emerging concepts in the pathogenesis of tendinopathy, The Surgeon (2017), dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.surge.2017.05.005 Wilson JJ, Best TM. Common overuse tendon problems: a review and recommendations for treatment. Am Fam Phys. Sep 1 2005;72(5):811e8.
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