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What are the Different Types of Tendon Therapy?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 11 June 2018
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Tendon therapy is required to treat injuries such as tendinitis and a ruptured tendon. Some of the main types of tendon therapy include conservative treatment using the rest-ice-compression-elevation method (RICE), rehabilitation using physical therapy and in some cases surgery. There are also alternative treatments such as shockwave therapy that may be used. Surgery is nearly always required for a completely ruptured tendon as this sort of injury doesn’t heal on its own. With injuries such as tendinitis more conservative methods are always tried first as the success of surgery depends on a number of different factors.

The RICE method is applied to a number of different injuries and is often the first step for tendon therapy. Resting a tendon that’s been injured is essential if it is to heal correctly, as an injured tendon that is still being regularly damaged will often heal incorrectly. Ice and elevation are used to control the swelling, which is important for a quick recovery. Elevating the injured part of the body can also help to control swelling. In general, swelling is only a problem during the initial phases of a tendon injury, so this method may not solve a chronic problem.

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Physical therapy is important for the tendon to heal. If a tendon has become damaged due to overuse then this is likely to reoccur unless a change is made to the way the individual’s body works. For this reason, stretching and strengthening exercises are often introduced to a tendon therapy program as long as there is no pain in order to speed up recovery and prevent any further injury.

Surgery for a ruptured tendon is always required. A ruptured patella tendon, for example, needs to be fixed in order for the tissue to begin the healing process. Tendinitis, on the other hand, usually doesn’t require surgery unless the condition is a chronic one that hasn’t responded to any other treatment. Although surgery for chronic tendinitis can be effective there are many risks involved, and it can sometimes make the problem worse than it was before.

Shockwave therapy is a relatively new tendon therapy that is used for tendinitis. It works in a similar way to ultrasound although a narrow beam of shock waves are used rather than sound. This has been shown to rapidly speed up the healing process in a damaged tendon in some cases although the therapy is not in widespread use yet.

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