By Aaron Woolley, Physiotherapist – Robina Physio Gold Coast
Why am I Getting Tendon Pain?
Tendinopathy is a condition that affects many tendons in the body and often leads to extensive tendon pain. People who participate in activities that require repetitive high-level loads including running and jumping, gripping with force and heavy lifting often experience tendinopathy related pain. Managing Tendon pain is bread and butter for the Physiotherapists at Robina Physio on the Gold Coast, so don’t hesitate to BOOK ONLINE and receive expert care.
Tendons play a crucial role in our musculoskeletal system. These tensile structures connect our muscles to the bones, transferring the force produced by muscles, enabling us to move. Similar to muscles, tendons also respond to load. For instance, rigorous strength training at the gym can result in muscle growth. Likewise, when tendons are appropriately loaded, they become stronger and better equipped to handle intense forces.
However, tendons have their limits. If we subject them to sudden and severe forces they may suffer an acute tear but also if load them in an improper and excessive manner over a long period of they, they might not adapt correctly. This can lead to a change in their structure, resulting in a pathological state. Indicators of this pathological change include an increase in water content within the tendon, disturbances in the type and structure of collagen (cells of the tendon), and the growth of nerve and blood vessels in the tendon area. All these changes can result in pain and a feeling of weakness in the affected area.
What is a Tendinopathy?
Tendinopathy can be visualized on a continuum. At one end, you have a mechanically frail tendon. Move along the spectrum, and you find a healthy, robust tendon, which can then shift to a state of reactive tendinopathy, further morphing into tendon disrepair, and ultimately, a degenerative tendon. The position of a tendon on this continuum is determined by the loads it’s subjected to and can oscillate based on varying conditions.
Tendinopathy, in clinical terms, is often defined as a failed healing response of the tendon. This involves irregular growth of tenocytes (tendon cells), intracellular abnormalities within these tenocytes, a disruption in the collagen fibres, and an increase in non-collagenous matrix. The term “tendinopathy” serves as a broad descriptor for clinical conditions associated with tendon overuse, encompassing both pain and pathological attributes. Furthermore, tendinopathy is characterized by pain, diminished function, and intolerance to exercise.
Common sites for tendinopathy include:
- Lateral Elbow (Tennis Elbow)
- Medial Elbow (Golfers Elbow)
- Patella Tendon
- Achilles Tendon
- Rotator Cuff
- Hamstring and Gluteal Tendons
Typically, individuals with tendinopathy type tendon pain describe a progressive increase in pain at the affected tendon’s site, often linked to escalated activity levels. The tendon pain is generally associated with the load exerted on the tendon. In early tendinopathy stages, the pain might be present only at the activity’s onset, disappearing during the activity but returning once the activity is concluded.
Thankfully high-quality physiotherapy intervention can fix your pain and with the right loading and management plan even lead to repair of the tendon structure and return to sport. At Robina Physio on the Gold Coast we use a multifaceted approach to tendon management and get great long-lasting results with our patients.
Early intervention can mitigate further damage and expedite recovery. At Robina Physio on the Gold Coast, our skilled physiotherapists will aid in alleviating your tendon pain. Furthermore, we’ll delve deep to identify and address the root causes contributing to your discomfort. Through strengthening exercises, running drills, technique modifications, functional exercises, and/or a comprehensive load management plan, we aim to set you back on the path to pain-free movement.