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Tendon is a tissue that attaches muscle to the bone. It is flexible, tough and fibrous and can withstand tension. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon. It can occur when a person overuses or injures a tendon while playing a sport. Usually linked to an acute injury with inflammation, Tendinitis can occur at any age. However, it is more common among adults who play a sport on a regular basis. Older people are also susceptible to this condition given that the tendon is prone to lose elasticity with age.

Reasons for Tendinitis:

  • Excessive load on the body : Repeated overload is the main risk factor in athletes and manual workers.
  • Training Error : Training mistakes contribute to about 60-80% of tendon and other overuse injuries especially in runners. Most common training errors include extremely long distance, high intensity and faster than usual progression in running.
  • Poor Equipment : This happens to be a major risk factor. For example, tennis racquets that are too stiff or strung too tightly may initiate symptoms of tennis elbow.
  • Malalignment issues
  • Decreased flexibility, muscle weakness and imbalance
  • Being overweight

Signs and symptoms of tendinitis tend to occur at a point where the tendon attaches to the bone. The signs typically include:

  • Pain, often described as a dull ache, especially when moving the affected limb or joint
  • Tenderness
  • Mild swelling
  • Stiffness

Common sites in the body where tendinitis may occur include:

  • Shoulder- Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Elbow- Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis), Golfer’s Elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Knee-Patellar tendon (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Ankle-Achilles tendon

How AktivHealth can help
At AktivHealth, a specialist performs a detailed evaluation of the patient and then plans a customised treatment. The goals of rehabilitation are to relieve symptoms, to decrease inflammation when present, to promote restoration of tissue integrity and to enable people to return to their normal activities. Rehabilitation can be broken down into three phases: acute, recovery, and maintenance.
Acute phase: The acute phase of rehabilitation is concerned with protecting the injured tissues by splinting, bracing, or taping to allow healing and control of the early inflammatory process. Ice, MFR and mobilization help in reducing pain and swelling.
Recovery phase: After the acute phase, rehabilitation should emphasize appropriately loading the tendon and its muscle to provide proper stimuli for healing. Healing and recovering muscle strength and flexibility are most important at this stage. Protected motion is gradually increased to full passive then active range of motion. Resisted exercise (as tolerated) then progresses from isometric to concentric to eccentric work. Maximum stress is placed upon the muscle-tendon unit during eccentric exercise phase. Proprioceptive exercises should be included late in the process of rehabilitation.
Finally, general conditioning exercises and exercises for uninjured body parts should be incorporated if they do not interfere with the recovery of the injured tissue.
Maintenance phase: This is the final and an important phase in restoring maximal performance and minimizing the risk of reinjury. Strength and flexibility must be fully restored, although inflexibility might be slow to resolve. Sport-specific plyometrics (ballistic stretching) can be added when strength is adequate. Unrestricted return to play should be allowed only after the athlete has undergone sport-specific testing and is deemed able to compete.

Sunaina Khanna
Written by : Sunaina Khanna Physiotherapist, AktivHealth
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