How To Treat Tendonitis Successfully?

Both professional and weekend athletes are often at risk of being injured, no matter how prepared they are. Injuries may vary from mild to severe but one of the most common injuries to affect different body segments is tendonitis.

Tendonitis often comes as a result of repetitive movements, which are present at sports such as running, swimming, tennis, golf, bowling, baseball, and others. It can be extremely painful, which is why patients may not be able to continue with their usual activities.

Still, there are many ways to recover from it. Bu the most effective treatments involve acupuncture for tendonitis, dry needling therapies, active release techniques, and functional movement training that help to relieve pain and to maximize sports performance.

Makari Wellness –  Acupuncture, Orthopedic Dry Needling, Active Release Techniques (ART) and Functional Corrections At One Time.

Makari Wellness, run by Michael Woodworth, specializes in acupuncture, orthopedic dry needling, active release techniques (ART), moxibustion, and other critical tendonitis symptoms treatment that help people recover from potentially severe sports or work-related injuries.

We combine the best practices from each of the therapies in order to provide our clients with the best results that will bring long-lasting effects. Book your appointment with our certified acupuncturist at (888) 871-8889 and start treating your condition with success. Over 15 years of serving San Diego with the most effective Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Solutions – often getting results where traditional PT, Chiropractic and massage failed to resolve the condition.


What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis represents inflammation or irritation of a tendon, which consists of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Such damage often causes pain and tenderness outside a joint.

It can occur in any of your tendons, but it’s most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels. Most prominent examples include:

  • Achilles tendonitis affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Runners and middle-aged people that play sports only during the weekends are more prone to this condition.
  • Bicep tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the bicep muscle to the shoulder and the elbow. It’s often caused by repetitive movements or overuse, and it’s prevalent at sports such as softball, baseball, tennis, or swimming.
  • Calcific tendonitis causes the formation of the very small calcium deposit within the tendons of the rotator cuff, and it’s quite common at people at least 30-40 years old that have a certain type of diabetes.
  • Elbow tendonitis is among the most common types of tendon injuries, and it refers to the inflammation that’s present in the tendons and connective tissue at the elbow. Golf and tennis players are often affected by it, as well as those that frequently use elbows by rotating the forearm muscle tendons.
  • Extensor tendonitis is caused by the inflammation of the extensor tendons that run along the top of the foot. It’s typical for runners who wear inappropriate running shoes or tend to lace them too tight.
  • Extensor tendonitis is caused by the inflammation of the extensor tendons that run along the top of the foot. It’s typical for runners who wear inappropriate running shoes or tend to lace them too tight.
  • Patellar tendonitis is a condition that occurs due to the injury of the patellar tendon, which helps the muscles extend the knee. It’s common in basketball and volleyball players, who often jump. It’s also known as “knee tendonitis” or a “jumper’s knee.”
  • Peroneal tendonitis is a condition that affects the foot and the ankle. It’s common at athletes that play sports, which involve repetitive ankle motions, primarily due to a sudden increase in training, improper training techniques, or inadequate footwear.
  • Posterior tibial tendonitis comes as a result of a dysfunction of one of the tendons found on the inner side of the ankle. It usually prevents people from standing on their toes on the affected side, and it’s more common in women over 40 years of age. It’s often caused by diabetes, obesity, or hypertension.
  • Shoulder tendonitis is also known as “rotator cuff tendonitis,” and it comes as a result of swelling of the tissues that connect the muscles and bones in the shoulder.
  • Wrist tendonitis occurs due to swelling of the tissues that connect muscle to bone in the wrist, which is usually caused by repetitive hand-intensive activities.

Most of the mentioned conditions are resolved within a couple of weeks or months, but if tendonitis symptoms don’t cease even after that, it might imply chronic tendonitis.

It’s mostly self-diagnosed and often involves pain, tenderness, and mild swelling. Although it might not seem severe, tendonitis may cause a lot of complications if not treated adequately and on time.

If you ignore the signs of the injury that last for several weeks or months, you are at risk of developing a more severe condition that may require surgery. Such a condition may involve degenerative changes in the tendon and impact the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

What is the Best Tendonitis Treatment?

If you’re noticing some of the tendonitis symptoms, you’re advised to visit your doctor and do the necessary physical exam that will determine whether you have tendonitis or not. You may also be required to do an X-ray or other imaging tests.

After a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend different remedies for tendonitis that will help you relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation. Those remedies include:

Acupuncture for Tendonitis

The entire concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the fact that every person possesses Qi, which is considered vital energy that circulates through our bodies. You can think of it as the energy that powers metabolism and cellular functions and even as the signals that allow for nerve conductivity to activate or relax muscles. An imbalance of Qi may make our body less resistant to injuries, inflammations, and other kinds of conditions that may bring severe consequences to our overall health. 

When we do jobs or play sports that involve repetitive movements of a particular body part (wrist, elbow, shoulder, bicep, etc.), we are at risk of developing tendonitis, which may bring long-term inconveniences. This is due to continued shortening / tightening of tissues resulting in hypoxia (decreased circulation) and  the formation of fibrotic tissues (less elastic).  See the cycle of injury diagram on our ART page.

According to the TCM, tendonitis may be caused by local qi and blood congestion in the channels, which leads to pain and the inability to perform specific tasks with the same level of efficiency. Therefore, the TCM suggests acupuncture and Chinese herbs as one of the options beneficial for treating tendonitis and its symptoms. Active Release Techniques and Gua Sha are two of the most effective manual therapies used to treat tendonitis conditions.

Dry Needling Acupuncture is known for its efficient pain-relieving techniques, which involve the insertion of small, thin, and stainless steel needles into the specific acupoints found on different body parts. By stimulating those points, acupuncture impacts the blood flow and releases the blocked energy, which leads to pain relief and provides you with the ability to move the affected body part without problems. The needle insertion creates a micro trauma resulting in softening of the tissue (tenderizing) and an increase of blood flow to the area resulting in a chemical cascade of healing processes.

Acupuncture has proven its efficiency in treating different kinds of tendonitis. After a comprehensive examination, your practitioner will identify the points they need to stimulate in order to address the condition successfully – such spots may be located near the affected area, as well as far away from it.

Depending on whether your tendonitis is acute or chronic, your practitioner will determine the exact number of treatments you might need. If you suffer from an acute issue, you may need only a couple of sessions, while the chronic type may require a bit longer treatment. Other factors that may impact the speed of recovery are your overall health, age, and lifestyle.

What to Expect from Tendonitis Acupuncture?

Typical acupuncture treatment for tendonitis lasts from 10 to 30 minutes, while the needles stay in the points. The procedure is entirely safe and painless, and it won’t harm your health or worsen the existing symptoms.

Apart from pain relief, which is one of the main objectives of acupuncture, you can also expect reduced swelling. Namely, recent studies have shown that acupuncture increases the dilation of blood vessels around the inserted needles, as well as the production of the anti-inflammatory molecule adenosine.

Treat Tendonitis with Electroacupuncture

To deliver better results to their patients, practitioners tend to stimulate the needles using small electric currents. Conditions usually treated with electroacupuncture include Achilles tendonitis and calcific tendonitis.

It provides patients with reduced pain and the ability to move seamlessly. It is also efficient in relieving skeletal pain, improving the quality of a patient’s life, and it has brought significant results regarding the regression of the calcific depositions in patients who suffer from calcific tendonitis.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion – A Powerful Combination for Treating Tendonitis

Traditional Chinese Medicine is not only about acupuncture, but it rather focuses on its combination with herbs and other therapies that originate from Eastern medicine.

That said, acupuncturists often use moxibustion as a new approach to tendonitis pain relief. Moxibustion involves the burning of dried mugwort on specific areas of the body, and its goal is to stimulate circulation and impact a smoother flow of blood and chi.

Moxibustion is highly efficient for treating chronic pain caused by tendonitis, which is why it’s commonly used for mitigating the symptoms provoked by this particular condition. It’s mainly applied to tendonitis in wrist, hand, and forearm.

Dry Needling – An Efficient Method for Treating Sports Injuries

Orthopedic dry needling is famous for its therapeutic effects, especially when it comes to sports injuries. It involves needle puncture without the injection of active substances for treating chronic pain that comes as a result of different conditions. It’s mainly focused on low back pain, spinal stenosis, and migraines, but it can be used as tendonitis medication, as well.

Many recent studies about dry needling for tendonitis discovered that the therapy alone is sufficient for treating different kinds of tendonitis, including calcific and rotator cuff types. Namely, it impacts the strengthening of tendon and ligament structures and facilitates the blood supply to the affected regions.

Blood flow increase is important for tendons, which are anatomically poorly vascularized. Additionally, dry needling has the analgesic effect as it helps the body release endorphins and serotonins, vital for bringing positive impacts to the entire organism.

Like acupuncture, it’s safe and harmless, especially if performed by a licensed practitioner.

Active Release Techniques (ART) for All Tendonitis Types

Active Release Techniques (ART) are aimed at treating injured muscles, ligaments, fasciae, tendons, and nerves.

ART works by breaking up adhesions – dense collections of scar tissue, formed when muscles and connective tissues are injured. Scar tissue often limits flexibility, causing pain and stiffness in muscles and joints at the same time.

By breaking up the adhesions, your practitioner will allow a smooth motion, without any pain or limitations. The ART will increase the blood flow and impact a faster heal of injuries, making sure you can come back to your usual activities. It’s particularly useful for treating the symptoms of tennis elbow and frozen shoulder.

Still, ART brings the best outcomes when it’s combined with other therapies, such as electroacupuncture, moxibustion, and dry needling. It needs to be performed by a tendonitis specialist who has enough knowledge and experience in addressing this kind of issue using such therapies.

Specific Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)

Sports injuries, including tendonitis, can be evaluated through the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). It consists of a series of 7 full-body movement tests created to assess essential patterns of movement, including bending, squatting, and more.

The main goal of SFMA is to help practitioners determine any dysfunctional movement and think of solutions on how to heal tendonitis or any other potential problem. Professional acupuncture clinics often have a considerable number of tools necessary for providing better and faster results to their clients.

Combined with dry needling, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, or corrective exercises, SFMA can deliver long-lasting outcomes.

R.I.C.E. – Home Treatment for Tendonitis

One of the first things your doctor may recommend is so-called R.I.C.E therapy, which consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is the best medicine for tendonitis you can implement to stop the development of the condition, and you can do it at home, which is its significant advantage.

However, you shouldn’t do R.I.C.E. for a long time. Prolonged inactivity may cause stiffness in your joints and cause the onset of some other conditions that usually bring additional inconveniences.

How to Cure Tendonitis with Medications?

Tendonitis can also be assessed with adequate medications, which include:

  • Pain relievers, including aspirin or ibuprofen, may help you reduce the pain caused by a tendon injury.
  • Corticosteroid medications, injected around an affected tendon, usually relieve the symptoms of tendonitis and reduce inflammation. It’s not recommended to take corticosteroids for treating chronic tendonitis since its overuse may weaken the tendon and increase the risk of its rupturing.
  • Platelet-rich-plasma, also known as PRP, involves taking a sample of your blood and spinning the blood to separate the platelets and other factors that help healing. The solution is that injected into the area of the affected tendon.

Some more severe conditions may require surgery, which is why it’s essential to start with treatments as soon as possible.