Tendon Injuries, Tendinitis, Tendinosis, Tendinopathy
Soft-tissue conditions are the third most common rheumatological problem in the United Kingdom. Research shows 18 people out of every 1000 suffer from these kinds of symptoms, and make up to 30% of GP consultations for musculoskeletal conditions.
Most tendon problems are treated by the GP with injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. Exercise is thought to be important, with eccentric exercise (where the muscle is lengthening at the time) a focus recently. However, it is not clear exactly which physio treatment route should be taken.
Tendon problems have always been referred to as tendinitis but this implies that there is inflammation present in the condition. This has not been shown to be the case so tendon conditions are now known as “tendinopathies”.
Tendon problems are thought to be degenerative conditions, i.e. related to time-related changes and the stresses of life. No therapies have been shown to be particularly effective, however ongoing research is pointing the way to what is going on inside the tendons and how we might approach treatments.
Changes which occur in the tendons are thought to relate to the processes of breakdown and repair which occur due to the stresses on the tendons over time. It’s not clear whether mechanical or internal chemical factors are the more important.