Tendon Injuries and Tendinopathies
Tendon are think tough bands of soft tissue that attach muscles to bone (as opposed to ligaments which attach bone to bone), they act as anchor points. Tendon injuries, known as tendinopathies usually present where acute irritation occurs when breakdown of an area of the tendon exceeds repair, leading to acute fair of inflammation. These often involve the tendons at the elbow (tennis and golfers elbow) and the achilles tendon (attaching the calf muscles to the heel). When the tendon strained it can become injured leading to the collagen fibres of the tendon becoming disorganised rather than nicely aligned. If not attended to and treated soon into the development of the symptoms this can lead to chronic changes in the tendon.
In the vast majority of cases whether it is the elbow tendon or the achilles, the tendon, which is designed to withstand a great deal of force and tension, will have become injured as a result of being chronically overloaded. Whether it's from playing too much tennis or golf without being warmed up and with poor technique or running too explosively on hard ground, once there is an injured tendon, it is important to get the balance right between rest and exercise of the tendon and the muscle(s) to which it is attached. Stopping all activity or over-resting, in the case of the achilles for example, will weaken the calf and associated muscles leading to cell change and increased probability of injury.
The main causes for tendons are:
sudden increases in intensity and/or duration of activity
degeneration due to under use or weakening due to age
lack of stretching or sudden over-zealous stretching
poor biomechanics leading to over strain
Tendon injuries usually starts with an ache at the beginning of activity. This ache then eases with movement but becomes stiff or tender after exercise. Often the person then continues with their activity and the problem remains fairly low level in terms of pain. The longer the tendon continues the more chronic and painful it becomes and the harder it is to treat. Treatment and management
If the tendon dosent respond to normal conservative management of rest, do get the problem assessed by your osteopath to ensure that you get the appropriate treatment for your individual needs – both in terms of hands on treatment and advice about how to rehabilitate your injury back to health and perhaps buy supports. If further conservative management does not help then additional treatment can be utilised by us here at Dynamic Osteopaths by the methods of injection therapy.
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