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What is a tendinopathy?

There is no doubt you have heard the terms tendinosis, tendonitis and now more commonly tendinopathy... but what do these terms actually mean?

A Tendinopathy is a general term that refers to overuse injuries resulting in a change in the tendon structure.

Based on the most recent recommendations in the literature we are going to call them 'Tendinopathies'.

Where can Tendinopathies occur?

They can occur all over the body. Here are a few 'common' areas.

What causes tendon pain?

This is a question that is still being researched heavily and requires a very complex answer.

We do know that tendons do not like change and direct compression.

In most instances, Tendinopathies are induced by increasing load (doing too much) too quickly.

How long can they last?

Tendinopathies can last for long periods. It's important to recognise this, so that expectations are reasonable!

Typically tendon pain can persist for around 3 months. They can however be shorter or longer than this time period.

What about my imaging?

There is a major dissociation between imaging findings and pain.

When imaging asymptomatic people (with no pain) it is very common to see 'Tendinopathic' signs (changes to the tendon).

Furthermore, symptomatic people (with pain) may also have normal looking tendons on scans!

A clinical examination by a physiotherapist is therefore much more important that any image!

What does treatment involve?

Different tendons require different treatment strategies.

Early on, all programs should however involve some sort of load management plan (changing intensity/duration/frequency of activities) as well as some sort of resistance training to build capacity.

In later stages the end goal is to gradually return to activities by adding some more sport specific movements.

If you have tendon pain or have been given a diagnosis of tendinopathy, tendonitis or tendinosis ensure you book in today to get assessed and commence your treatment program!

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