The curse of the tender tendon
Tendinopathy (tendon injuries) can develop in any tendon of the body. You may have heard of tendinopathies being referred to as tendinitis, tenosynovitis and tendinosis. In simple terms, they are all tendon injury pathologies, where “tendinitis” infers there is an inflammatory process and “tendinosis” refers to a degenerative condition of the tendon. Medical professions now refer to a tendon injury as tendinopathy, which basically means “tendon pathology”.
What are the typical symptoms?
Tendinopathy comes with pain, swelling, and impaired function. The pain is typically worse with movement and early morning stiffness is often present. Tendons are the tough fibres that connect muscle to bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, usually as a result of repetitive overloading.
With a thorough assessment, the exact pathology and cause of the pain can be determined.
- Inflammatory reactions tend to respond quickly to anti-inflammatory treatments and medications.
- Conversely, degenerative pathology takes longer to heal and involves a graduated loading program to strengthen the tendon back to full function.
- Often both inflammatory and degenerative conditions can co-exist in tendon injury.
- Mild inflammation is a normal tendon healing response to exercise or activity loading, but it can become problematic when the rate of injury exceeds your healing capacity.
What are the common tendon injuries we see?
- Rotator cuff (shoulder)
- Patella (knee)
- Achilles (heel)
- Gluteal (hip /buttock)
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
Most tendon pathologies have a good prognosis, especially when an accurate diagnosis and an effective rehabilitation plan is commenced early.