09 Apr Tendinopathies
The term tendinopathy (also known as tendinosis) is used to describe clinical conditions associated with the overuse in and around tendons (Physiopedia, n.d). Tendon injuries, known as tendinopathies, are found where acute irritation occurs to a damaged tendon that does not heal properly (McIntosh, 2021).
When the tendon is stressed or injured, the collagen fibres of the tendon are disorganised and unsystematically arranged, compared to the linear alignment of a healthy tendon. These disorganised fibres increase the blood flow to the tendon, which in turn increases the tendon’s water content. Resulting in the tendon becoming tight, restricted, swollen, and painful due to the nociceptors (pain receptors) becoming irritated by the damaged tissue. Tendinopathies can occur at the joining of muscle fibres within the tendon itself or where the tendon attaches to a joint (McIntosh, 2021).
Symptoms of tendinopathies:
Tendinopathies manifests as a slight irritating ache at the beginning of an activity but eases with movement, however the tendon does become stiff and tender after exercise, and a loss of strength is experienced in the affected area.
- The pain may get worse when you use the tendon.
- You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
- The affected area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation.
- You may notice a crackling sound or feeling when you use the tendon.
Common causes of tendinopathies are:
- A sudden increase in the intensity and duration of an activity.
- Degeneration of the tendon due to a lack of use.
- The tendon becoming weak because of aging.
- Not stretching the muscles enough.
- Or even vigorously over stretching of muscles.
Most tendon injuries occur over gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse, aging or weakness. Anyone can develop tendinopathy, but people who make the same motions over and over again in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.
It is best to first start by:
- Resting the painful area and avoiding any activity that makes the pain worse.
- Apply ice or cold packs to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Keep using ice as long as it helps.
- Take over the counter pain medication if required to reduce pain and inflammation (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen)
- Do gentle range of motionexercises and stretching to prevent stiffness.
- Elevating and compressing the injured area will also be helpful.
If the problem still occurs, you will need to get the injury assessed by an osteopath in order to assist you with the appropriate advice and treatment on how to rehabilitate the injury.
If the physical therapy fails to treat the injury, then being referred for (MRI Scan) will be the next call to action. Following the results from the MRI scan and the severity of the injury, will indicate whether secondary care options to relieve pain will be an option. This can include corticosteroids injections or surgery is needed.
At OsteoVision we pride ourselves in treating tendon injuries. Our team of musculoskeletal practitioners, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths can help improve range of movement, reduce inflammation, and improve pain symptoms. Contact us to discuss your symptoms and a member of our team will be there to assist you.