Suffering From Tendinitis or Tendinosis?

You’re 3 tennis matches into the afternoon. You felt good after your first match, but 2 sets into your second match your elbow flared up with pain. With each forward swing, backhand, and serve, the pain got worse. It didn’t go away well after the game was done.

Sound like you or someone you know?  

What if it were golf instead of tennis?  Running and your Achilles tendon instead of tennis and your elbow?  Swimming and your shoulder?

If you’ve experienced a sudden onset of pain while performing repetitive movement during sports or everyday activity, you may want to talk to an PT about the possibility of tendinitis.

Your tendons are tough bands of connective tissue that work together with your muscles to move your bones. They can withstand a great deal of force, and are quite capable of hard work.

However, if the tendon is suddenly overloaded, micro tears in the tendon can occur – resulting in inflammation. Inflamed tendons – tendinitis – can be extremely painful.

If this wasn’t an acute onset (i.e. you experience pain after swinging your tennis racket all the time), the root of your pain may be a completely different condition altogether.

-itis = Inflammation
-osis = Condition

If you’ve been experiencing pain after repetitive movements for some time now, the pain may be resulting from a collagen deterioration cycle – tendinosis – instead of inflammation.

With tendinosis, chronic overuse results in a cycle where tissues in the tendon are damaged, but aren’t given time to fully heal.

When tendons suffering from tendinosis are examined at microscopic levels, one can see that healthy tendon collagen (Type I)  is interspersed with new tendon collagen (Type III).

Type III collagen is not as tough as Type I collagen. Its presence weakens the tendon, making damage more likely, and spirals the tendon into a cycle of degeneration.

Physical therapy is an effective treatment for most cases of Tendinitis and Tendinosis.

If pain while performing repetitive movement during sports or everyday activity is a chronic issue, you may want to talk to your PT about the possibility of tendinosis.  Through specifically targeted strengthening, PT can foster healthy collagen production in the tendon, making it stronger, healthier, and more resilient.

Don’t wait to feel better, make an appointment at SOL Physical Therapy today!

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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