We’ve had many patients come to us that are suffering from tendon pain. Tendon pain can relate to many conditions such as Achilles Tendinopathy, Tennis Elbow, or Jumper’s Knee.
What is a tendon?
A tendon is a cord of tissue that attaches muscle to bone – it’s flexible but inelastic. Tendons are all over the body, at the end of every muscle, and work by transferring force from the muscle to the bone next to the joint, allowing you to move. For example, when you bend your arm, your biceps muscle contracts. The tendon then pulls on the forearm bone to bend the elbow.
Most tendon injuries derive from gradual build of inflammation in the tendon, often caused by overuse or overloading. Anyone can develop a tendon injury, especially those who use repetitive movements in their jobs, sports or daily activities. Even though your tendons are designed to deal with high, repetitive loading, if the load being applied is too great for the tendon, it becomes distressed, causing an injury. We can increase the load that the tendon can tolerate with an appropriate strengthening programme, in order to stop further injury or pain.
What are the symptoms of Tendinopathy?
The most common symptom is pain. This can range from a dull ache to a sharp pain depending on what your doing. Often the pain will start after exercise but it can also be acute. The more irritated your tendon becomes, the more frequently you will feel the pain. With some tendons, visible thickening or a lump can be seen or felt, which is often very tender. The symptoms tend to develop gradually with no obvious cause. If left untreated the symptoms can continue for 2-5 years.
What happens to the tendon?
In a healthy tendon, if you were to zoom in really close, the fibers would look like bunches of dry spaghetti neatly arranged in stacks. However a painful tendon will look more like cooked spaghetti with less organised fibers and more water between them – this is what gives the tendon the thicker appearance.
Why does Tendinopathy happen?
Commonly a change in how much load or stress is going through the tendon will cause it to develop these changes. This can be a change in exercise routine, work activity or a change in how you’re moving. Even a simple change in footwear can make a difference.
What can Hatts do to help with Tendinopathy?
Here at Hatt’s we can get you pain-free and moving better than ever before. An assessment with one of our Physios or Gait Analysis specialists can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan to relieve your pain and help manage the load on the tendon. We often recommend having a movement screen to establish the cause of the overload on your tendon and follow that up with Rehab and exercise classes to improve your movement and correct the cause of your injury.