As the sports season draws to a close, it becomes crucial to prioritize our physical well-being and minimize the risk of future injuries. While it's an excellent opportunity to recuperate and rest, we should also keep our eyes on the upcoming pre-season and ensure our bodies are in the right condition. In this blog, we'll delve into tendinopathy, a common injury, and explore what it is and how to mitigate and rehabilitate it.
What is a tendinopathy?
The definition is the name itself- an injury that has occurred in the tendon itself. Some people can mistake it for an acute tear i.e., a hamstring tear, however this is not the case. A tendinopathy is a response to increase amount of load which can cause some disruption and dysfunction in the tendon itself.
How does it occur and where?
As mentioned above, it occurs when there is an increase in load or activity demands than compared to normal. For example, a common occurrence is when individuals are training for a marathon and they have increased the amount of running loads that they have been doing. Another example is when athletes go into preseason without having any sort of load management during the off season. They go into preseason with no load training, causing the body to not be able to handle the load at the tendon.
With this increase in load, there is an intracellular abnormality in tenocytes(tendon repair cells), disruption of collagen fibre and therefore an increase in non-collagenous matrix which cause a tendinopathy.
Tendinopathies can occur in each body part. The most common areas that come into the clinic are:
What all these structures have in common is store and realise substantial number of tensile energies. A healthy tendon is white in colour. The remodeling of a tendon takes a longer time due to the oxygen consumption being lower. It is about 7.5 time lower to remodel tendons and ligaments compared to muscles.
How does it present?
Can occur as pain at the start of activity then disappears once warmed up. Then comes back when cooling down. The pain is localised around the tendon junction. In early stages the pain can be quite sharp whereas the chronic stages get a bit duller ache.
Acute reactive tendons:
Symptoms look like:
How to treat it?
It takes a long time for a tendon to settle down. These are just steps to help settle the symptoms down and then continue to build and strengthen:
Energy storing loading
Return to sport
For personalized treatment, it's best to consult with a physiotherapist to develop an action plan.
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