There is no doubt that tendon problems can be among the most frustrating injuries for people. Because tendons attach muscles to bone, tendon problems can therefore interfere with movements all over your body from lifting your arm (Rotator Cuff tendinopathy), to holding an object (tennis elbow) to walking (hip tendinopathy), to squatting (knee tendinopathy) and even to pushing off your foot (Achilles tendinopathy).
However, new research from Sydney and Glasgow is uncovering what is really going wrong with tendons and how well designed physiotherapy can deliver better outcomes than surgery.
What is tendinopathy?
Tendinopathy literally refers to tendon pain. It can be extremely debilitating, with at least 40% of all general practitioner consultations involving a tendon problem. Historically, tendon problems haven't been treated very well because the underlying disease process wasn't very well understood.
Who is at risk?
The typical person who tends to suffer from tendon problems is a person in their mid 40's to 50's who is moderately active. Initially, they experience pain following an activity which then becomes more constant often waking them from sleeping at night and worse at the end of the day.
With probing questions, it is often discovered that the pain is related to a repetitive movement. Classic examples of repetitive movement as the cause of tendinopathies include prolonged swimming, playing guitar or painting for shoulder tendinopathies, using the mouse, pruning and knitting for elbow tendinopathies and walking or running for Achilles tendinopathies.
The latest research and the latest discoveries
We've known for 30 years that instead of the tendon being pristine, white, type I collagen which is as strong as steel, the injury has transformed it into the more ragged, greyish, weaker and painful type III collagen. The only problem is that we haven't known why, until recently when it was discovered that the switch for dialing up or down type III collagen becomes dis-regulated.
What the recent research has shown, is that it is mechanical tension or specific strengthening exercises that can re-regulate this switch. The question is how much and how often should exercises be performed for optimal adaptation. Too little and the tendon degenerates (use it or lose it). Too much and the tendon breaks down further.
Professor Jill Cook at Latrobe University has shown that isometric exercises (strengthening exercises where the muscle develops tension but there is no movement of the joint) performed initially have been shown to reduce tendon pain and begin the process of remodeling the tendon.
What you need to do to get better and return to the activities that you want to do.
However to return to the sports and activities that you want to do, requires a whole lot more than just strengthening the tendon in an isolated way. Yes, you need to strengthen the tendon so that it can tolerate forces above and beyond the stresses that it will be placed under. But more than that, you need to strengthen associated muscles, correct sports and functional technique and finally you need to improve the tendon's endurance, so that it can tolerate these forces over and over again.
Failure to complete this extensive rehabilitation will result in just short term pain relief from your pain. It is simply physics. You cannot load a tissue beyond what it has been trained to tolerate and expect it not to break down.
If you suffer from shoulder, elbow, hip, knee or ankle tendon problems and would like some help to get rid of your pain and to return to activities that you love to do, call us here at Bodywise Health on 1 300 BODYWISE (263 994) for a Complimentary, No Obligations Assessment and Recovery Action Plan.
In your Complimentary, No Obligations Assessment session you will learn what the source and cause of your pain is and develop a Recovery Action Plan that will deliver you the best results in the shortest amount of time.
You will also discover:
* How to optimise the phase of healing;
* How to accelerate healing;
* How to get the best, strongest repair;
* How to perfect the performance of every day and sporting activities so that you achieve more efficient, effective results;
* How to have more energy;
* How to prevent the reoccurrence of your injury.
* What improvement to expect and when so that you can monitor your recovery and know that you are on track to achieve your goals in a forecast timeline.
If you have not achieved results in the past and you want to overcome your injury and pain once and for all so that you can get back to doing the things that you love to do, call us here at Bodywise Health on 1 300 BODYWISE (263 994) and take the first step to getting better, moving on from your pain and enjoying life.
We look forward to helping you.
Until Next Time, Stay Bodywise
Director Bodywise Health
The Health Report, Norman Swan, ABC
* Rebates are available through your private insurance extras cover;
* For complex or chronic conditions, you may qualify for the EPC (Enhanced Primary Care Program) allowing you to receive 5 allied health services each calendar year with a referral from your GP. For more information, please call Bodywise Health now on 1 300 BODYWISE (263 994).