Why do tendon injuries take so long to heal?

Why do tendon injuries take so long to heal?

Tendon Pain in Runner

If you’ve ever suffered from a tendon injury, you will know that the recovery can be frustratingly long. Tendons are important tissues of the body, connecting muscles to bones and come in many different shapes and sizes. As we explain below, there are many reasons why tendon injuries can be difficult to treat.

Tendon Injuries Often Develop Gradually

Tendons must be able to transmit forces from muscles to the bones they attach. However, they respond to changes in strength more slowly than muscles do. As muscles become stronger or take on more load, the tendons can fail to keep up with this increased demand becoming painful and damaged. This process can take a while to occur, and changes to tendon tissue often begin long before the pain is noticed. This means that there are likely to be multiple factors to be assessed, including biomechanics and training regimes, before the problem can be resolved.

Tendons Have Limited Blood Supply

Tendons do have their own blood supply. However, it is not as abundant as muscles. This can be a factor in healing, as all tissues require nutrients for health and to heal. Any condition that compromises circulation, such as diabetes, can predispose tendons to injury and delayed healing.

Rest and Stretching May Not Necessarily Help

Our instincts in response to tendon pain may not help with recovery. In some cases, stretching can aggravate symptoms, and while rest may reduce symptoms, it will not necessarily help with recovery. The best evidence for promoting healthy tendon growth is through addressing poor biomechanics and a tailored strength and loading program.

Recovery Often Relies On Adherence To A Specific Rehabilitation Program

One of the biggest barriers to healing tendon pain is that exercises can be easy to do in theory but hard to do in practice. They can take time and discipline. Your physiotherapist can also help you find strategies to fit your exercises into your daily routine if you find this difficult.

Contact us to make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists to discuss how you can help reduce and manage your tendon pain.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice.