by Harrison McIver, Physiotherapist
Tendinopathy is a complex pathological process that can cause pain, weakness and reduced functionality on our body’s tendons, which are the tissues that connect our muscles to bones. A common diagnosis one would hear for the pathology of our tendons is tendinitis or perhaps more recently tendinosis, however, the medical community has moved towards classifying all tendon pain as tendinopathy.
Tendinopathy will most often present in the shoulder (rotator cuff tendon), lateral hip (often misdiagnosed at bursitis), elbow (tennis/golfer’s elbow), knee (patella tendon) and Achilles. These are the most common, but is by no means a comprehensive list of areas in the body where tendinopathy can manifest.
These injuries normally occur with a gradual onset of symptoms and pain, rather than an acute injury, often accompanied by an increase or change in exercise or lifestyle. It is worth noting that in most cases these injuries are not serious, but full recovery may take a considerable amount of time (6-12 months).
The most important piece in rehabilitating tendinopathy is load management, the load being the amount of work the tendon is required to do. Typically high-load activities would be more likely to cause pain for someone with tendinopathy, e.g. running and Achilles tendinopathy, increase stair climbing and gluteal (lateral hip) tendinopathy, jumping and patellar tendinopathy. Initially, the acute stages of tendinopathy will require a decrease in load, but not always 100% rest, followed by a guided ‘loading’ program to restore the tendons’ capacity for work.
Complete rest will often provide relief of symptoms over time but is usually not sufficient to heal the tendon to return to pre-injury activity. This is where the guidance of a physiotherapist is most important, to progress exercise and activity in a manner that will prevent re-injury.
If you wish to get your tendinopathy assessed by Harrison, you can book online here or reach us at: