Jan 24

Tending to Your Tender Tendons

achilles_tendon_ruptureA bit of a tongue twister! An alliteration making it difficult to speak. But what do tongue twisters have to do with your tendons? Well, just like a tongue twister, which repetitively uses the same type of sound to make it difficult to speak, tendonitis is caused by repetitively using the same motion which eventually makes this motion difficult to complete.

In a case of Achilles tendonitis for example; (tendon being a flexible cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching muscle to bone) the Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body and it connects the muscles of the calf to the heel. When we contract our calves it pulls on the Achilles tendon which pushes the foot downward. This is what allows us to stand on our toes. It plays a role in walking, running and even jumping. Tendonitis commonly occurs by repetitive movement of a muscle which in turn causes inflammation at the tendon. A sport like volleyball, constantly jumping up to spike or block a ball can lead to aggravation and inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

How do we recognize and tend to these tender tendons? Tendonitis symptoms include; pain, tenderness, and swelling. Symptoms will develop gradually. You may only experience pain at the end of activity at first, but then you’ll notice it becoming painful at the beginning, diminishing throughout activity, only to return again at the end. If the tendonitis becomes severe enough you will experience pain at all times. As with any injury, visiting your doctor is a good place to start. He/she may be able to provide you with something for the pain and inflammation. As for aiding in the healing process, making daily activities functional, and preventing further injury, there is plenty alternative care that can be provided by your Massage and Physiotherapists.

achillies-tendon2

Massage Therapy proves to be very effective in treating tendonitis. Once again, in Achilles tendonitis for example, friction techniques can be applied to the tendon to stimulate the production of collagen in the damaged tissue, therefore aiding in healing. Trigger points in the calf muscle can be relieved using ischemic compressions and deep muscle stripping. This will decrease the tension being placed on the tendon and in turn relieve pain. Soft Tissue Release (STR), a treatment technique where a pressure is exerted on the muscle or tendon during movement to bestow a stretch or lengthening of that muscle or tendon can be effectively applied in all stages of healing to help promote tissue health and healing.

Since tendonitis is most commonly caused by repetitive movements (it can also develop after a serious injury), it takes time and gradually becomes more severe and more painful. Your massage therapist can identify when a particular muscle is being overused and can provide you with a preventative treatment and advice to minimize your chances of acquiring this condition.

For further information regarding tendonitis and what you can do to tend to this tender condition call, come in, or book an appointment with Balance Physiotherapy. Our staff is looking forward to helping heal hexed hellers!
– Nicole van Zutphen, RMT

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For more information about our services, see our website at: www.findyourbalance.ca