Initial treatment options include resting the affected area, applying an ice pack, a programme of physiotherapy or wearing a supportive splint. Sometimes a corticosteroid injection may be recommended.
In some cases, when these treatments are not effective, surgery may be needed. The type of surgery required will depend on where the problem lies, and its likely cause. Surgery may be required for some tendon injuries, but is usually considered only when other non-invasive therapies have been tried. Surgery is not always effective and can sometimes carry risks of scarring, rupturing the tendon and wound infection.
Depending on the condition being treated, surgery may be used to remove a damaged part of a tendon or to remove any abnormal pieces of tissue or lumps from the tendon. It can also be used to repair a ruptured tendon or to encourage a tendon to heal.
Tendon surgery is usually carried out using a ‘keyhole’ technique called arthroscopy, particularly in the knee and shoulder. This technique requires only a series of small cuts in the skin to allow the surgeon to see inside the joint and to carry out the procedure using small instruments. This technique reduces scarring and minimises recovery time.
You may have some pain or discomfort after the operation which we’ll help you manage with painkillers. We’ll tell you how to care for your wound and, if you’ve had non-dissolvable stitches, we’ll make an appointment for you to have them removed.
A programme of physiotherapy will usually be suggested to help speed recovery. You’ll probably need some time off work, depending on the exact nature of your surgery.
Any surgery carries some risks. Specific risks associated with tendon surgery include; bleeding from the site of the operation, wound infection, and the possibility that the surgery will not be successful in achieving the desired outcome.
Non-surgical treatment options include rest, applying ice packs, physiotherapy, wearing a splint on the affected area or corticosteroid injections.