Do you suffer from tendonitis – pain, tenderness, stiffness or swelling around your joints?
Caused by the irritation or inflammation of a tendon, tendonitis is most commonly experienced around the ankle, hips, elbows and shoulders.
There are various treatment options however tendonitis can often be successfully treated using low level laser therapy – which stimulates the body’s natural healing process, helps restore function of the affected area and results in significant reduction of pain in many cases.
Unlike anti-inflammatories, low level laser actually heals tissue, with no side effects.
Tendonitis Relief with Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy – also known as low level laser therapy or LLLT, is a medical grade, therapeutic laser used as an effective treatment to relieve pain.
The powerful anti-inflammatory effect of LLLT helps heal inflamed and aggravated tendons. It works by enhancing circulation and encouraging the injured cells and tissues to repair, helping to restore normal function. As the underlying problem is treated, restoration of function and longer lasting pain relief is possible.
Not only can low level laser soothe muscle tension and reduce inflammation, it tends to work well in combination with exercise, physiotherapy and other treatment modalities.
A ground-breaking therapy for accelerating healing and relieving the pain associated with tendonitis, cold laser has the ability to offer both short term and long term pain relief.
Some pain reduction can usually be felt immediately after treatment. The best results are achieved with cumulative treatments.
Speed up healing and get back in action, faster.
– Dr David Bartlett, Practice Principal – Robina Town Medical Centre
Benefits of low level laser therapy as a tendonitis treatment:
- Clinically proven results
- Safe to use immediately after an injury
- Reduces the need for medication
- Helps to restore the normal range of motion
- Suitable for all ages
- Treatment is painless
- Relieves and potentially eliminates pain
Low level laser therapy safely improves the range of motion of the affected tendon, promoting healing of the affected area.
LLLT promotes the body’s natural healing processes, relieving the pain and helping the body to treat the source of pain.
What is tendonitis?
Tendonitis (also known as tendinitis) is the irritation or inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is a cord-like band of tough fibrous connective tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. (Ligaments, which are also similarly made up of collagen, connect bone to bone.) Tendons are distributed all over the body including the arms, legs, hands, feet, head, and torso. They come in various shapes and sizes, but they all work to transfer the force of muscle contraction to produce movement of a body part.
To indicate which tendon is affected by injury or inflammation, tendonitis is often referred to by the affected body part, for example, patellar tendonitis (knee) or Achilles tendonitis (ankle).
What causes tendonitis?
There are several causes of tendonitis, ranging from infection and disease to traumatic injury and overuse. Although tendonitis can occur at any age, it is most common in adults over 40. This is because, in older people, the tendons are less likely to tolerate stress and are more prone to tears and injury. The most commonly affected sites include the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and base of the thumb. Jumper’s knee, tennis elbow, and swimmer’s shoulder are all types of tendonitis.
Common causes of tendonitis include:
- Overuse or frequent repetitive movement – examples include jobs and hobbies such as gardening, carpentry, cleaning, shoveling, painting, and scrubbing, and sports such as tennis, swimming, skiing, golf, baseball, basketball, running, and bowling
- Any activity involving repeated motion, awkward positioning, vibration, or forceful extension
- Deconditioning or lack of proper stretching prior to exercise
- Intensive exercise only at the end of the week (weekend warriors)
- Incorrect posture at home or at the workplace
- Any activity or condition that places stress on the soft tissues (e.g., arthritis)
- Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Leg-length discrepancy
- Thyroid disorders
- Unusual medication reactions
- Age-related decline in the elasticity of tendons making them prone to injury
- Infection from cat or dog bites, especially to the hand or fingers
Symptoms of tendonitis
The classic symptoms of inflammation in the body are heat, redness, swelling, and pain. The predominant symptom associated with tendonitis is pain, which can be sudden and severe or gradually increasing in intensity. Multiple sites of pain or the sudden inability to move the affected area warrants prompt evaluation by a GP. Common symptoms of tendonitis include:
- Dull aching pain that is worse with movement
- Sudden, severe, sharp pain
- Stiffness or loss of motion, e.g. adhesive capsulitis in the shoulder (frozen shoulder)
- Tenderness to touch
How is tendonitis treated?
To prevent tendonitis from occurring, it is a good idea to ease into any new exercise and gradually build up activity level. Starting with a limited amount of force and a limited number of repetitions is advisable. If pain is experienced, it’s best to stop the activity and try again after some time. Tendonitis usually responds to a few weeks to months of conservative treatment, but sometimes injections or surgery may become necessary. Some of the commonly used therapies for tendonitis include:
- Avoiding activities that exacerbate the problem
- Rest or immobilization of the injured area (with splinting if necessary)
- Application of ice to the area
- Local application of anti-inflammatory gels to the affected area
- Oral anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications
- Corticosteroid injections to relieve inflammation and pain
- Physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion
- Surgery (rare) for severe tendonitis that leads to tendon rupture
Low level laser therapy is an effective, drug-free, painless alternative to traditional tendonitis treatments
The management of tendonitis usually begins with conservative measures such as avoiding certain activities, immobilisation, ice, and anti-inflammatories moving to higher interventions such as corticosteroid injections, physical therapies and surgery.
Used on its own or in combination with traditional treatments under the guidance of a GP, cold laser can be effective in reducing or eliminating pain.
Instant or long-lasting relief cannot be guaranteed as results vary for each patient due to age, health condition, type of injury, lifestyle and concurrent treatments, however clinical evidence and our patients’ experiences indicate low level laser to be a worthwhile and effective treatment option for tendonitis.
Laser Treatment for Tendonitis – Clinical Evidence
An investigation on the effect of laser therapy on lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) found significant pain improvements were achieved with long-term treatment.
Athletes experienced accelerated recovery in a study on the effects of low level laser on achilles tendinopathy in combination with stretching exercises.
If you want relief from the pain of tendonitis, using a therapy that encourages healing of the affected area, please get in touch. We welcome you to book a session or speak to our laser team for advice.