Torn or otherwise damaged tendons typically require more healing than your everyday sprain. Tendons are made of fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bone. When they’re injured, they take much longer to heal. Frequently, surgical intervention is the only way a person can fully recover after injury.

Unfortunately, tendon injuries are common. They usually happen due to sudden twisting motions or excessive pressure on the joint. For example, millions of people tear tendons playing basketball, soccer, jumping, or lifting heavy objects. When that happens, they’re often faced with surgery or lifelong pain and muscle weakness.

However, treatment and managing the recovery process significantly impact how long it takes to feel better. So whether you’re dealing with minor tendonitis or a torn tendon from a sports injury, here are some basic healing tips you should know.

Inflammation & Tendonitis 

Tendonitis is a common condition that affects many people. When tendonitis flares up, it can limit your range of motion and cause intense pain. The condition results from wear and tear on tendons from lifting weights, excess use, or sports activities. People often report tendonitis when they start playing an intense sport after years of relative inactivity. The muscles are weak from a lack of conditioning, so more strain is on the tendon during play.

Controlling inflammation is essential to resolving tendonitis and overall recovery. When your tendons and muscles are inflamed, the body’s healing is harder. The area swells and feels stiff. Typically, tendonitis isn’t a significant cause for concern, but chronic tendonitis can increase the chance of a severe tear that requires surgery to fix.

The Three Stages of Tendon Healing

The body acts quickly to protect you after a tendon injury. After an injury, the tendon goes through the following three stages of healing:

Inflammation – The body sends inflammatory cells to protect the damaged area. It’s a way of signaling the area is hurt, and the injured person should limit movements. Continued strain can exacerbate the injury. However, research suggests that early intervention in the inflammation process can speed up healing and recovery. Often, inflammation gets in the way of the healing process, so fighting inflammation is vital to a fast recovery.

Proliferation – During the proliferation phase, the body builds new tendon fibers that attach the bone to muscle. This, however, can take much longer than most people are willing to wait. As a result, they experience higher pain levels and limited strength, affecting their quality of life. Therefore, most people opt for surgery after a tendon tear to avoid the challenging proliferation stage.

Remodeling – The final phase of tendon healing is remodeling. During this phase, the body takes the new fibers and recreates the new tendon. However, several factors impact the body’s ability to heal fully. For example, growth factors influence the new tendon’s development. In addition, age, physical health, lifestyle, and other factors affect the ability and speed with which the body heals.

Deciding on Surgery

Surgery is usually the most important choice after a severe tendon injury. However, in many cases, people who decline surgery will deal with the lasting effects of the damage for the rest of their lives. For example, an elbow tendon tear will feel better over time, but patients will likely experience joint weakness and pain moving for years.

If the affected tendon isn’t a major tendon, then opting out of surgery may be a good option. However, other tendons, like the Achilles tendon, require surgery if the patient wishes to return to normal activity levels.

Whether you decide to go through with surgery or put it off, you can do things to facilitate healing. Here are some things to consider:

Rest & Ice – In most cases, controlling inflammation speeds up the healing process. After a tendon sprain, severe tendonitis, or a confirmed tear, you must get some rest and avoid making things worse. Apply ice to the injury at regular intervals to dull the pain and stop the swelling.

Physical Therapy – Find a physical therapy clinic in your area and schedule an appointment. Working with an experienced therapist will help you build supporting muscle groups around the impacted tendon to maintain strength and stability as you heal.

Peptides & Tendon Healing

BPC-157 is a peptide made from 15 amino acids. It’s a partial sequence of the body protection compound found in human gastric juice. In animal model testing, BPC-157 showed impressive results related to healing many different wounds, including tendon healing. It also recovered damaged ligaments.

BPC-157 works by increasing the production of type 1 collagen in damaged tissues. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory. In test subjects, the peptide increased blood flow to damaged tissues, delivering neuroprotective serotonin and dopamine production in the brain.