A few helpful tips and tricks to consider when you’re managing tendon pain, tendinopathy or bursitis

By Julia Frankish

What is a tendon? What is tendinopathy?
Tendons are a fibrous connective tissue which attached muscles to bone. A tendon transmits the mechanical forces of a muscular contraction to the bone, resulting in movement. Tendinopathy occurs with overuse, and indicates a failed healing response of the tendon
Why does it happen?
Tendon pathology and pain occurs with overuse, especially after a period of inactivity. If you take time off from exercise (like possibly through lock down), your tendons lose their ability to function effectively. Similarly, it can occur from a big spike in activity, especially with repetitive actions.
Where would I feel it?
You would feel it at the point where the muscle comes to attach onto the bone. So for the hamstring tendon, it would be close to the sit bone, patellar tendon underneath the knee cap, and achillies tendon would be right down low near the foot. Tendon pain is normally specific rather than diffuse general pain.

Five top tips for Tendon Pain

1. Don’t completely rest! Your tendons need load to stay strong. Totally offloading your tendon will prolong your recovery.
2. Remove compression and abusive loads. Stop stretching and poking the sore area. We can help you with strategies specific to the area of your pain. For example – hamstring tendon pain can feel like tightness right up near the sit bone. Stretching your hamstring, will compress the tendon and increase your pain. If you need to stretch, either have some soft tissue treatment, or use a ball or foam roller to release the muscles.
3. Rather than focussing on the deficiencies shown on x-rays or MRI’s, try to work on strengthening the good portions of the tendon and maximizing their function. This is associated with better outcomes.
4. Load the tendon. We want to gradually increase load and resistance.  Tendons need loading to work effectively as a spring for energy storage and release. Having said that, we need to ensure that the types of loads and exercises that we do what is carefully selected, and is specific to you.

5. We want to gradually sneak up on a tendon. Don’t change a whole lot of things all at once. Slowly and gradually, with help from a professional, design a plan to increase your load and help you work back to normal function.

For more information on tendon pain follow this link