A tenotomy is a treatment to relieve pain in a tendon. It might be described as dividing a tendon. Your medical professional might use a needle to pierce your skin and prick your injured tendon. Through tiny skin incisions (cuts), they might even surgically remove a portion of the tendon.

Although tenotomy can be used to treat tendon problems throughout the body, it is most frequently utilized on the tendons that attach your biceps muscle to your scapula, your elbow tendons, and your foot and ankle tendons.

Reasons for undergoing the procedure

Tenotomy is used to address ailments that affect your body’s tendons all over. The most typical problems include:

  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Club foot and other birth defects that affect babies’ feet and ankles.
  • Hammertoes.
  • Biceps tendinitis.
  • Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.
  • Shoulder calcific tendinitis.
  • Achilles tendon injuries. You may hear the terms “heel cord tenotomy” or “peroneal tenotomy” when the procedure is done on your Achilles tendon.
  • Patellar tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee or jumper’s knee).


A few risks of tenotomy include:

  • Cramping: There’s a possibility that you could experience cramping close to the site of your biceps tendon tenotomy. It’s possible that few individuals may not even notice it, and it’s not a guarantee that you’ll have complications from the tenotomy. If you do get cramping, it will eventually get better.
  • Scar tissue: It may hurt if scar tissue grows around your tendon close to the site of your surgery.
  • Return of symptoms: Following a tenotomy, some patients relapse with symptoms, sometimes years later. This is particularly common if you repeatedly misuse your tendons when working, participating in an activity, or playing a sport.

Before the procedure

Usually, your doctor will attempt alternative options before suggesting tenotomy. Typically, they will initially recommend other, non-surgical procedures, such as:

  • Rest: Avoiding the sport or activity that aggravated your tendon will allow it to heal.
  • Ice and NSAIDs: NSAIDs that are available over-the-counter can aid with symptoms including pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Tension on your injured tendon can be lessened with stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles surrounding it.
  • Corticosteroid injections: Steroids reduce swelling.

Your doctor could advise tenotomy if you’ve tried some or all of these other therapies but are still in pain or discomfort.

During the procedure

Two tenotomy procedures are used to treat problems with your tendons: percutaneous needle tenotomy and open tenotomy.
Depending on which tendon is injured and what caused the damage, a different kind may be required.

Percutaneous needle tenotomy

Putting something through your skin is referred to in medicine as percutaneous. A needle is inserted by your doctor into your tendon during percutaneous needle tenotomy. For the area surrounding your injured tendon, a local anesthetic will be administered. They will then either make holes in your tendon or cut away any damaged sections. During the procedure, your doctor may guide the needle with an ultrasound.

By causing inflammation surrounding the tendon, percutaneous needle tenotomy aids your body’s natural healing process. The area receives more blood than usual from your body, which encourages your tendon’s natural capacity to regenerate and heal.

Open tenotomy

Performing an open tenotomy requires surgery. Your surgeon will either provide local anesthesia to the area surrounding your tendon or a general anesthetic in order to put you to sleep. After exposing your tendon by cutting through your skin, they will proceed to cut it. Your tendon can be surgically released to reduce pain. It may cause the tendon to regenerate longer and less constrictively than it did initially.


You should try to limit the use of the tendon or other area of your body that had surgery after a tenotomy. The type of tenotomy you required and the location of the injured tendon in your body will determine how long it takes for you to heal. You’ll learn what to anticipate from your doctor or surgeon.

Most people must wait a few months before starting vigorous exercise or sports again. Before beginning physical exercise again, see your doctor or surgeon.