Tendons are the tough fibres that connect muscle to bone. They are subject to large external forces and can undergo complex degenerative processes if they are repeatedly overloaded, or even underloaded, over time. This complex process is known as a tendinopathy.
Tendinopathies are normally characterised by localised pain around the tendon. The pain is normally worse in the morning and after exercise but often improves during exercise due to enhanced blood flow to the area.
As physiotherapists we see tendinopathies on (almost) a daily basis. The problem is thought to be more common in the general population than osteoarthritis and way we treat them has changed dramatically over the years.
The vast majority of research supports the use of progressive loading and strength training to treat and prevent further exacerbations of pain and ensure patients are able to resume their desired sport or daily activities.
In order for strength training programmes to be successful in the treatment of tendinopathy, patients need to adhere to a structured training programme that they should complete three times a week. The programme itself is designed to strengthen the tendon and the muscle they attach to, as well as addressing any biomechanical deficiencies that may be contributing to the tendon being overloaded.
The intensity of the training is gradually increased over a three month period and in doing so the tendon undergoes structural changes that make it more robust and more effective at absorbing load.
If you think you may be suffering from a tendinopathy book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.