A few of us might be inspired by the Olympics to increase our training, however be mindful with doing this as you could put yourself at risk of developing a tendonopathy if you increase your training too quickly.
Lower limb tendonopathies are common place here at Ormond Physiotherapy and occur due to suddenly overloading the tendons which surround a joint. Most commonly, the achilles and patellar tendon become painful when one increases their training quickly or even puts on a couple of extra kilos! The Ormond Physiotherapists aim to treat everyone individually, taking into consideration goals, timeframes and varying levels of pain. Listed below are some general guidelines from Ormond Physiotherapy which are based upon good quality research and are helpful to follow to ensure the tendon healing is optimal. Certainly consult us here at Ormond Physiotherapy if you are having any pain in a tendon area so we can diagnose you properly and set you on the recovery pathway with manual therapy and strength training.
What NOT to do when you have a lower limb tendonopathy:
- Complete Rest. It is known that tendons require a certain load or stimulus to rehabilitate, and rest does not offer this. Pain also needs to be respected, and an optimal load needs to be found and applied.
- Passive Treatments (eg, ice, TENS etc). These Treatments may provide some short term relief, but long term relief requires load to be gradually introduced to the tendon.
- Injection Therapies. These are yet to be shown effective in quality studies. It is suggested that this option only be considered after an active exercise based program has been applied and results have been insignificant.
- Ignoring Pain. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that the load is too high and at a level it is not handling.
- Stretching the Tendon. Aggressive stretching can actually compressive the tendon, something that we know is detrimental to the health of the tendon.
- Massage the Tendon. If a tendon is painful this will only add to the discomfort. However, massage of the attached muscle can be helpful.
- Focus on the Images of Your Tendon . The images of your tendon with ultrasound and MRI for example don’t always correlate to the pain or function of the tendon, or its ability to rehabilitate.
- Be Worried About Rupture. Pain is protective of your tendon, it makes you unload it. In fact most people who rupture a tendon have never had pain before!
- Cut Corners with Rehabilitation. This does not work. We know that tendons can take some time to re-build strength and ability to withstand high loads. This can be frustrating when rehabilitation can take months, but the long term outcomes are good if you do the correct rehabilitation. Short cuts only lead to a vicious cycle of recurring, worsening injury to the tendon.
- Not Knowing Which Loads are High for Your Tendon. The highest load on your tendon is when you use it explosively, like a spring, such as jumping, changing direction and sprinting.