For anyone who has suffered through an angry tendon, particularly an athlete mid-season, you don’t need me to tell you they are HARD to shake. They often sneak up on you, can be not too bad at the start, but then (insert sound effect) Hello Troubletown.
The main precipitating factor in tendon problems isn’t inflammation, it’s LOAD – too much, too soon, too frequently. Or, funnily enough too little. Tendons hate rest just as much as overloading. This is why the 2 weeks off running to settle the Achilles does nothing. The cells in tendons don’t turn over as fast as other tissue, so healing or regeneration rates are much slower and are stimulated by loading the tissue – safely.
Tendon health is often expressed as a continuum, somewhere between fit and healthy tendon and snapped, world of pain tendon. Fit and healthy tendon is excellent at energy storage and release, as we progress down towards the unhappy end of the continuum, a tendon’s CAPACITY for work decreases greatly. The capacity of the entire muscle, and eventually, limb will also decrease with time. This is why soldiering on with the sprints with the sore patellar tendon will eventually bring you undone.
The CLASSIC tendon pain picture is:
“Sore when I start, then it warms up and is OK. It aches when I’m finished and then kills me first thing the next morning”
Tendon problems are one of the things you don’t get away with. And you get away with it even less as you get older. If this sounds like you, we need to check you out. The sooner you address the issues, the faster you are back to normal performance.
- stretch, even if it feels good at the time, tendons HATE stretches
- persevere through symptoms – your brain is telling you something
- wait months to do something about it – seriously, months? You’re killing me
- massage, roll, release trigger points – forget your stretches
- keep loading the limb – but the tendon needs to be symptom free!!
- take ibuprofen (ask your GP/pharmacist if you can first), it has effects on chemical factors that lead to sore tendons. Other NSAIDs don’t do much
The other do is, of course, get in touch with Newcastle Performance Physio. Get here, get right, get going again.
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Until next time