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Talking Tendons - simple facts & info

Tendons are made up of tight parallel bundles of collagen which connect muscle to bone; helping to transmit sometimes high amounts of force to get us moving. With repetitive actions, or just over time the tendon becomes weaker which can lead to ‘microtears’ and swelling. Sometimes a load can be so excessive that it causes an instant tear.

The oxygen consumption of tendons is lower than that of muscles, which means they can work hard for long periods, but also means that healing can be slower than we’d like.

The once strong and tight collagen bundles that make up the tendon can start to weaken which means the tendon struggles to do what it once could and daily activities or hobbies become increasingly difficult.

You are more at risk of developing tendinopathy (the medical name – no longer called ‘tendonitis’ by those using the term correctly) if you are woman post-menopause, have high body fat, are diabetic or have raised cholesterol, to name a few.

Tendons tend not to get better with rest. People often believe that just slowing down their activity and giving it "some time to settle" will lead to improvement but as time goes on symptoms usually worsen.

This is often unnecessary and getting the right advice early can prevent what can be long-lasting complaints. Despite the changes that occur in the tendon you can still become pain-free with a good physiotherapy treatment plan which can consist of exercise, manual therapy and acupuncture - which all work in their different ways.

Plenty of research has especially shown the benefit of the right exercise programme in helping tendon pain. Sometimes you need to make a few adjustments that will help pain settle down before starting a good exercise programme to improve your strength and the tendons capacity to complete your tasks. With a bit of hard work I've seen good results within a few weeks!

Treatment often needs to be individualised and you should contact a physiotherapist to find out more about how they can help you...

Contact Physio At The Door to find out more information about how his advice and treatment can help with your complaints! ​

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