Tendinopathy and Physical Therapy

tendinopathy and physical therapy

The tendons in your body are essential connective tissues that attach your muscles to your bones and enable movement. They are rope-like tissues that contain collagen protein. 

Tendonosis affects the tendons and indicates a collagen breakdown in a tendon, leading to discomfort, various pain levels, and a limited range of motion. Tendinopathy is heard more often among physically active individuals in athletic groups because it frequently develops due to overuse.

Tendinopathy can occur in various body parts, but it most commonly affects areas like the risk, knees, ankles, elbows, and shoulders. Keep reading to learn more about tendinopathy, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What You Need to Know About Tendinopathy

Tendinopathy can cause pain and burning pain and limit your range of motion in several areas. The most commonly affected tendons are those that we use most consistently, including the following:

  • Achilles tendon
  • Rotator cuff tendons
  • Patellar tendon
  • Hamstring tendon

What is Tendinopathy?

Tendinopathy is sometimes an umbrella term for conditions involving the tendons that cause swelling and pain. Tendons are soft, fibrous tissue that is strong and flexible and connects the muscles to the bones. As your muscles relax and tighten, your tendons allow your bones to move.

Tendinopathy can affect your quality of life and interfere with your ability to perform daily activities. For example, it can prevent you from doing yardwork, housework, and activities that you enjoy, such as golfing, tennis, or even walking.

If you experience pain or swelling in your tendons, you may suffer from tendinopathy, and you should contact your doctor or an experienced physical therapist for help. If you want to get the root cause of your pain, do a Google search for “physical therapy near me” to help locate a physical therapist in your area.

The Difference Between Tendinitis and Tendinopathy

These two conditions can have very similar symptoms, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but tendinitis and tendinopathy differ. Most people have heard of tendonitis; however, tendinopathy is more common and is also called tendinosis.

Tendinitis is usually an acute condition caused by inflammation, injury, strain, or overuse. Tendinopathy encompasses a wide range of tendon disorders, including tendinosis. It is typically chronic degeneration of the collagen protein that makes up the tendon and can result from trauma, overuse, aging, or osteoarthritis.

Although tendinitis is familiar to most, many experts believe tendinopathy is more common but not as commonly diagnosed or recognized as the issue.

Causes of Tendinopathy

There are several possible causes of tendinopathy, including the following:

    • Age can play a role because as our body ages, the tendons may become less flexible and more prone to injury, making them more susceptible to tendinopathy.
    • Tendinopathy can result from overuse, excessive strain, or repetitive movements on a tendon. It is most commonly seen in individuals with physically demanding occupations, athletes, or those who spend a significant part of their day performing the same movements.
    • Poor biomechanics, including improper technique or posture when performing physical activities, can also place unnecessary stress on tendons, increasing the risk of injury.
    • Medical conditions such as diabetes, metabolic disorders, diabetes, obesity, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of developing tendinopathy.
    • Poor training surfaces or improper training equipment.
    • Lack of strength and flexibility or muscle imbalances.
    • High-intensity training.
    • Poor blood circulation can lead to low oxygen levels in the tissue.
    • Poor nutrition and a weak metabolism are responsible for turning food into energy.
    • Repetitive tasks such as gardening, painting, shoveling, scrubbing, typing, lifting, woodworking, sports, and more can increase one’s risk of developing tendinopathy.

Symptoms of Tendinopathy

Depending on which tendon is affected, the symptoms of tendinopathy may vary. Generally, the symptoms are worse if your tendinopathy is more severe. The most common symptoms of tendinopathy include the following:

    • Swelling — The tendon may become swollen or inflamed, causing discomfort or pain.
    • Stiffness — Swelling around the tendon and joint can lead to stiffness and joint pain and reduce mobility.
    • Weakness Loss of strength or weakness in the associated muscle may occur due to compromised tendon function.
    • Difficulty Performing Daily Activities — Whether working in the garden, lifting objects, playing sports, or climbing stairs, you may have trouble performing essential functions.
    • Burning Sensations
    • Red, Warm Skin If the surrounding area is warm or red, it can indicate tendinopathy; however, this can also indicate an infection, so it is essential to see your doctor.

Diagnosis of Tendinopathy

Diagnosing tendinopathy will include a combination of a physical examination, medical history, review, and imaging tests, such as an MRI or ultrasound. Your doctor will assess your symptoms, conduct physical tests to determine your range of motion and strength, and most likely order imaging tests to view the affected tendon and area and rule out any other possible conditions.

Treatment of Tendinopathy

Depending on the circumstances, the treatment that your doctor recommends for tendinopathy may include the following:

  • Rest or Modification of Regular Activities — Resting the affected tendon and avoiding activities that may exasperate your symptoms is essential. You can also modify your activities to reduce the stress on the tendon, aiding your healing process.
  • Physical Therapy Physical therapy is highly effective at strengthening the muscles around your tendons. It may also improve flexibility and any biomechanical issues that you may have to enhance your healing process significantly.
  • Pain Management — Your doctor or physical therapist may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Or topical pain relievers to help alleviate your pain and inflammation; it is associated with tendinopathy.
  • Bracing and Orthotics Braces or orthotic devices may help by supporting and stabilizing the tendon affected by tendinopathy to help reduce strain while moving.

How To Prevent Tendinopathy

Some cases of tendinopathy are unavoidable. However, there are several steps that you can take to help prevent and reduce the risk of developing tendinopathy.

  • Gradual Progression — Approach physical activities and exercises by gradually increasing the intensity to avoid overusing your tendons and help prevent injuries.
  • Proper Technique—When exercising or performing daily activities, ensure that you are using the correct form and technique to help minimize and reduce the stress on your tendons.
  • Cross Training — Participating in various activities in your daily exercise routine to help avoid overusing the same muscles and tendons repetitively. This will also help to ensure you are strengthening your whole body and not just the same area repeatedly.
  • Adequate Rest — After working out or strenuous activity, ensure that you allow time for sufficient rest so that your tendons may recover.
  • Balanced Nutrition — Eating a balanced diet with essential nutrients to help support tendon health is Important. This should include vitamins, minerals, and proteins to help support tissue maintenance and repair.

The Best Physical Therapy That Fort Collins Has to Offer

At UpSlope Physical Therapy & Performance in Fort Collins, we offer a variety of treatments. Whether you are an athlete experiencing chronic pain, movement limitations, or an acute injury, we can help.

We offer various services, including dry needling, corrective movement manual therapy, cupping, mobility and strength programs, and more to help improve your quality of life and performance.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today. We will help you or your loved one live your best life, staying healthy, active, and fit!

As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.