Many patients come in asking if they should be applying ice, heat, or both to their achy tendons.
Most of the time these athletes have aggravated their tendon over the course of a few months and are shows signs of redness, heat, and pain.
The short answer is : ALWAYS ICE.
The reasoning behind this is simple- tendinitis produces inflammation and heat, which produces pain. Adding more heat to this is like trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline. Icing helps calm the inflammatory cycle that is taking place as well as promotes pain relief due to its blocking of pain receptors.
The interesting thing about ice application is that, after it is removed, the body then produces a rebound heating from inside to outside which creates a much more profound heating effect than heat from an outside source ever could.
So even if heating is your goal - ice is still the way to go!