Tendinopathy is a term used to describe a disease of a tendon which is often the result of overuse which means that repetitive actions such as at sport or work, particularly if performed incorrectly, can result in injury.
Often Tendinopathy is used interchangeably with tendinosis and tendinitis, although they can also carry different meanings.
Tendinopathies affect many areas of the body with over 5 commonly injured tendons in the foot and ankle alone. A tendon injury can be acute or chronic and is a result of both intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors. Intrinsic factors include older age, history of tendon injuries, sex and obesity.
Tendinopathies affect many areas of the body with over 5 commonly injured tendons in the foot and ankle alone. A tendon injury can be acute or chronic and is a result of both intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors. Intrinsic factors include older age, history of tendon injuries, sex, obesity, the range of motion and biomechanics while extrinsic factors include footwear, surfaces on which regular activity is performed, recent changes to load or type of activity and even medications.
These factors result in small micro-tears of the tendon which are commonly ignored or put off as muscular pain. Unfortunately, due to poor blood supply, tendons do not heal as quickly as muscles and this means that the effects of repetitive activity on the tendon begins to stack resulting in increased damage or delayed healing.
Treatment depends on the location and severity of the tendinopathy and may include things such as immobilisation for a period of time to allow for healing followed by exercises to gradually build up strength and flexibility of the tendon. Other treatments include steroid injections, massage, ice/heat, electrotherapy and much more. While several of these treatments can provide short term improvement to pain, an initial short period of rest followed by exercises has the best evidence for long-term improvement.
When treating tendinopathies we aim to alter factors we can change such as weight, the range of motion, biomechanics/posture, footwear, load/type of activity and the surfaces you perform these activities on. Your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist is an expert in the exercises and education best suited to treat your tendinopathy.
Physiotherapist & Exercise Physiologist