Tendinopathy - How to get pain free as fast as possible
Tendons are very important structures in the body connecting muscles to bone and allow for force to be translated to the bone for movement. Tendinopathy is the term used to describe changes that occur in damaged tendons, which lead to pain, reduced function and exercise tolerance.
The most common tendinopathies are due to overuse involving the Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, gluteal tendons, tendons of the rotator cuff around the shoulder and the medial and lateral tendons of the muscles of the elbow (Golfers Elbow).
In the early stage of tendinopathy, people can often continue their sport, work or activity as they typically feel no pain or stiffness once they are warmed-up. Later stage tendinitis progress from soreness and stiffness associated with activities to constant debilitating pain during and after activity.
At Brain + Body Health, we have a digital strength testing device known as a ForceFrame. This device allows us to measure specific muscle strength and imbalances which may be contributing to pain and tendinopathies. This information allows us to develop individual and uniquely tailored recovery protocols for our patients.
Tendinopathy is often due to a combination of factors including hormonal and metabolic conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, pregnancy, etc.
Other factors include sport, activity level, and occupation which may influence the high-load demand placed on the tendons and require repetitive loading that may lead to structural damage. (Muscle imbalances, kinematic chain dysfunction)
Tendons are mainly comprised of collagen fibres organised into parallel bundles. The main changes of tendinopathy involve disorganisation of the collagen fibres, an increase in vascularisation and sensory nerve innervation, increased immune cells and inflammatory mediators. The structural and biochemical changes result in tendon weakness, pain, local swelling, limitations in the range of motion and reduced tolerance to exercise intensity and duration.
The diagnosis of tendinopathy is based on clinical symptoms and patient history of activity related localised tendon pain and stiffness that limits exercise or activity tolerance. After a detailed history, a thorough physical examination includes tissue specific palpation to differentiate the exact structure associated with the pain, as well as pain provoking tests. However, in more complex cases diagnostic imaging including ultrasound or MRI may be required.
At Brain + Body Health, we use a range of techniques to speed up recovery such as blood flow restriction (BFR), Low Light Laser Therapy, and Dry Needling.
Blood Flow Restriction
Blood flow restriction is a technique where an adjustable cuff is wrapped around the limb in order to decrease the flow of blood to the target region. For example, it may be placed around the thigh to aid in managing patellar or Achilles tendinopathies at the knee and ankle.
This technique aims to get the benefits of an intense exercise routine without the risk of putting high load on the injured tendon. Benefits include shorter duration exercise, lower resistance and faster changes in endurance and load capacity.
Low Light Laser Therapy
Low light laser therapy uses light at energy levels which pass through the skin to deeper tissues and raise skin temperature. Specific wavelengths of light are used to reduce inflammation and swelling, provide pain relief, promote oxygen delivery to tissues and increase healing rate.
We use K-Laser at our clinic, one of only 3 clinics in Sydney with this device.
Dry needling is a procedure utilising very fine acupuncture needles which are inserted into the skin to treat a range of conditions. Typically, dry needling is used to treat trigger points, tight areas of muscles which are painful during movement and during palpation. Dry needling is used with tendinopathy injuries to disrupt the structural, disorganisation of the tendon and induce local bleeding which aids in the healing process by delivering necessary cells required for healing.
If you have any injuries you need help with you can Book Online or call 9817 6611 to organise a free 20 min phone consult to see if we can help.