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How to Doctor a Bruised Tendon

Bruised tendons are very painful, but they are much easier to treat than a break in your bones 1. Bruised tendons do not need to be placed in a cast or a splint, and they heal much faster. When caring for your bruised tendon, you must remember the acronym RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation 1.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Stop what you are doing and rest. This is the first part of the acronym. You may be tempted to continue your game of sports or whatever activity you were engaged in until it is over. This can actually cause further injury to your tendon so you need to sit on the sidelines and rest.

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Set some ice in a plastic bag and then wrap that with a thin towel. Set it on your bruised tendon immediately for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off 1. Continue doing this until the swelling goes down.

Begin alternating the ice with a heating pad. Do this until the swelling is completely gone. Then just use the heating pad for 20 minutes each time.

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Wrap your tendon with an elastic bandage. This will apply the necessary compression that your tendon needs to heal. You will want to wear this bandage as often as possible.

Prop your bruised tendon up with some pillows so that it is higher than your heart 1. Do this whenever you sit or lie down. This is the fourth letter of the acronym which stands for elevation.

Begin exercising your tendon after the majority of your healing has taken place. This should be between 10 and 20 days, and when the majority of your pain has ceased. You will want to work on stretching the tendon back out. A sports therapist can give you specific exercises to work on at home until you are ready to get active again.


Leaving your bruised tendon untreated can result in the forming of scar tissue. You will begin to see that you cannot move your injured tendon as you used to, and it will have a kind of tethered effect when moved. This indicates the presence of scar tissue.


If the bruised tendon is located near your foot, see a doctor to make sure it is not an Achilles injury. This is more serious.

If your foot remains swollen after 72 hours, or if you are not receiving any relief from the pain after three to four days, you should seek medical attention.