Tendlite is a small, very portable device that’s about the size of a roll of nickels. It has a powerful LED light that is used to send light waves beneath your skin and into tendons that are experiencing pain. The “powerful” part is important, as most similar (and cheaper) devices lack sufficient wattage to really get the light down into your tissues where it can do some good.

This type of treatment, known as phototherapy, has both science and anecdotal evidence going for it. First, phototherapy has been used worldwide for over 30 years and the Tendlite in particular has been FDA cleared (which is different from being “approved”). So it’s not really a question of whether or not it works, but of how best to use it. LEDs are commonly employed to relieve inflammation in many areas of the body. However, the real benefit for tendons in particular is that LED light helps to promote the formation of collagen, which is what tendons are made of. Oddly enough this fact isn’t stressed much on their website. But long-term tendon pain is rarely simply inflammation, and generally will require rebuilding the collagen structure of the tendon. While it’s true that an otherwise healthy body will do this on its own after a while, in this respect Tendlite has few competitors.

On the anecdotal side, 75% of Amazon reviews are 5-star. However, this figure might be inflated a bit because of Tendlite’s policy of requesting a positive review from anyone who orders replacement batteries from the company. (On the other hand, I guess you can assume that people who reorder are satisfied with the product.)

The Tendlite unit sells for $185 on the company’s website (actually ten bucks less than on Amazon). I don’t really like the marketing here; the order button shows a “discounted” price of $185 from the “retail price” of $267. But a little further below it says that Tendlite is not available in stores. If it’s not available in stores, what is this “retail price”? Don’t be fooled by this or think that you’re really getting a discount. The price is the price and that’s it.

Marketing tactics aside, however, the device works as advertised. While no one type of therapy works for everyone, along with ultrasound, LED therapy has a good scientific backing and has been proven to work. And Tendlite comes with a full guarantee if it turns out that you don’t experience improvement. If you can afford the $185 price tag, this may well be the device that will heal your tendons. But I would recommend trying other, lower-cost options first.

Final rating: 8.8 Tendlite is a well-designed device that will do the job. The only sticking point is the price, which is considerably higher than most other products reviewed here.

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