Tendons are tough bands of tissue connecting muscles to bones. Tendons help transfer force from muscles to allow movement, and they are built to handle a lot of power. Even so, these structures are prone to injury from repetitive movements or extreme force. With appropriate treatment, most tendon injuries heal to restore normal movement.
Treatments for Tendon Injuries
Tendons are more than just connective tissue. They are living structures that are well-supplied with blood vessels and nerves. When tendons are injured, an inflammatory response occurs within seconds, flooding the area with blood.
However, with a good supply of blood flow comes inflammation. Excessive inflammation can cause a lot of pain. Hence, treatment for tendon injuries involves proper management of inflammation and other symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and a sensation of heat.
A handy treatment method that a lot of tendon injuries can help with is RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Resting prevents additional damage on the tendon, while ice application reduces inflammation. Both compression and elevation slow down the influx of fluid into the injured site, thereby reducing swelling. RICE application allows for some pain relief and helps avoid excess swelling and further damage to the tendon.
Rest, Nutrition, and Exercise
For mild cases, extended rest is all that’s necessary to ensure that the tendon heals. The repair process takes several weeks, so you may have to take time off sports or physical activities that may further injure the tendon.
To facilitate repair, you must have the right balance of nutrients in your diet. Vitamins, minerals, and the right proteins are necessary to ensure that cells can work at optimal conditions while repairing. Malnutrition can delay or halt the healing process.
As the tendon heals, your doctor may prescribe exercises that target adjacent muscles and connective tissues. The injury might have been severe enough to prevent you from moving the affected body part. You may also wear a special brace to immobilize the area. This lack of activity might cause nearby muscles to lose their strength. To heal the tendon injury effectively and quickly as well as strengthen your body, your doctor may also recommend physical therapy.
In some cases, the affected tendon can’t heal properly without surgical intervention. This problem commonly occurs with major tendon tears. If left unattended, the tendon will not heal on its own and you will have lasting repercussions.
In such situations, a surgeon will access the injured tendon, perform repairs, and close the incision. This will be followed by several weeks of rest and physical therapy so you can heal and strengthen your body.
Medical Intervention and Orthopedic Care in Texas
When you experience a tendon injury, it’s difficult to determine if the issue is minor or serious. To be safe, anytime you experience an injury (while playing a sport or after a fall or accident), see an orthopedic physician as soon as possible. An orthopedic doctor can examine you and determine how serious your injury is and recommend the best treatment to get you back on your feet.
If you live in San Antonio, Texas, and are in need of an experienced orthopedic physician, reach out to the experts at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. We specialize in handling trauma cases, including damaged tendons. Call us at (210) 692-7400 or use our online appointment form to get the care you deserve.