Tendinopathy is a common injury caused by the over or incorrect use of a tendon, which is the band of tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. Any sort of repetitive injury or putting too much load or stress on a tendon can cause inflammation and pain. This pain could go away quickly once the tendon has healed, or may become a chronic issue. So how do you address tendinopathy?
Determine the Cause
The first step to dealing with tendinopathy, is to figure out what caused it. Oftentimes when client’s come into the clinic with a tendon issue, they have been living with pain or loss of motion for months or even years. Sometimes this makes it hard to really narrow down what caused the initial injury. Because of the nature of tendinopathy, we can often narrow down which activity is most likely to have caused it. For instance, if a tennis player comes in with elbow pain, we can usually guess that their issue came from how they are swinging their racket.
Evaluate the Movement
Once we know what activity caused the injury, we can determine why. Our bodies are made to move, but when we push them too hard or move them in the wrong way, we injure ourselves. When you are swinging a racket or jumping incorrectly, the strain you are putting on your tendon causes you pain over time. Once we see how you are moving we can determine what part of the movement is hurting you. Are you trying to move too much load? Is your form incorrect? By evaluating the movement, we can create a plan to help you strengthen and heal your tendons.
Correct the Movement
Before we start rebuilding the tendons, we have to make sure that your movements are correct. We can work on your forms and techniques while your body heals the swelling in your tendons. An experienced physical therapist is going to be able to use this time of your body healing to protect you from future injury by fixing any stability and form issues.
Build Your Strength
It may seem counter productive, but the best way to get you back to performing your best, is to actually return to using the tendon. Much like muscles, your tendons gain strength as you use them as long as you are using them correctly. It may hurt, but by carefully increasing load and stress, you make the tendons stronger. Appropriate load on the tendon is going to help the tendon to heal. For this step it is important to have a physical therapist you trust to guide your treatment and put together a program with appropriate exercises and movements for your body.
Tendinopathy is a common injury. If you are struggling with tendon pain or a relative injury, don’t wait to see a physical therapist. We can help you reduce your pain and regain your range of motion. To learn more about treating tendinopathy, listen to episode 63 of Training Room Talk or contact us to schedule an appointment.