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Tendonopathy

Tendons are tough, flexible bands of fibrous tissue throughout the body that attach muscles to bones. Tendinopathy is a general term that describes tendon degeneration characterised by a combination of pain, swelling, and impaired performance.

Common sites include the rotator cuff (supraspinatus tendon), wrist extensors (lateral epicondyle) and pronators (medial epicondyle), patellar and quadriceps tendons, and Achilles’ tendon.

Tendinopathy can be caused by many different risk factors.  Medical studies suggest that it is an over-use condition. That is, the main risk factor is overuse, or doing too much of certain activities without adequate recovery periods.

Treatment consists of activity modification, relative (but most not often complete) rest, ice, stretching, and strengthening. Your clinician will advise you on the best stretching and strengthening to do for your injury.

Surgery may be a consideration in extreme cases for those who do not improve with conservative therapy.

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Because tendons are poorly vascularised (have poor blood flow) a particular consideration of rehabilitation should be optimising blood flow to the affected area. Applying heat and ice in succession (i.e. heat for 6 minutes, ice for 3 minutes, heat for 6 minutes and so on) is an approach that may be advise by your clinician to improve blood flow to the area.