Our tendons are the great connectors of our bodies: transferring the forces from bone to muscle and back again, they ensure our movements while bearing the brunt of our exertions. It may come as no surprise then that the sudden shift from indoor to outdoor activities often results in overuse injuries that are entirely preventable.
Injury prevention involves stretching, having the proper equipment, and easing into any new routine. Tendons that aren’t prepared for a sudden change in activity can act a lot like a bundle of cold rubber bands pulled beyond their limit.
The bundle may remain intact, but some of the individual bands may break or fray. This is roughly what happens when our tendons are subjected to new or aggressive forces. The result? Tendinopathy, a condition characterized by degenerative changes in the tendon that cause pain and decreased mobility.
If left untreated, tendinopathy contributes to a cyclical process of worsening pain and inflammation. Initially, the pain can be discomforting yet bearable; many athletes will even continue their normal routines thinking they’ll work through it. But as the tendon weakens it overcompensates, further straining the tendon’s tiny cables and aggravating the condition.
So how does one break the cycle? Modify your activity and adopt a regimen that puts fewer stresses on the problem area. Additionally, one should ice the problem area after exercise and take anti- inflammatory to reduce swelling and pain.
This is also a good place to point out that our incredible team of Triarq physical therapists can help tailor a routine specifically for you, no matter where your tendon problem may be.
Some of the more interesting developments in treating tendinopathy are new creams that combine multiple medicines as part of a multi-pronged attack against the problem area. In addition to topical pain creams such as Lidocaine or Voltaren gel, we now have access to creams that combine a few medications that may be able to relieve pain while also reducing inflammation. The combination helps our patients experience faster relief while healing faster.
But our best advice is to stay healthy by preparing for the transition from treadmill to jogging trail. We know you might feel like jogging an extra five or ten miles on one of these bright and sunny days, but you’ve got all summer to do that! For everything else, we’re just a phone call away.