Sports/Exercise Injuries: Tendonitis How Resting Will Make It Worse - Paul Gough Physio Rooms

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Sports/Exercise Injuries: Tendonitis How Resting Will Make It Worse

Kev the massage king here, nice to see you’re back again!

Now lets get started and the topic for this month’s blog from me is…Tendonitis.

I’ve had a few cases of tendonitis to different parts of the body this past month and they’ve got three things in common….

There’s a weakness in the muscle or one of the surrounding muscles, lots of tension and overuse.

All of these effect each other and one will cause the other to get worse. A weak muscle puts a lot of pressure onto the surrounding muscles, this than causes tension to increase in these muscles and then other muscles have to work harder and this overuse causes tension.

What is tendonitis?

Now tendonitis might sound very complex but its pretty simple…

Tendons attach all the muscles in our body to our bones. Without them the muscles couldn’t do their job. Tendonitis is an overuse injury, this makes it chronic in nature as you will feel it build up slowly overtime…..all my clients say it

“Started as an ache and then got worse until it got too painful that they had to seek treatment.”

The pain that is felt is because the tendon becomes irritated and inflamed, this irritation becomes worse and eventually every time that muscle and tendon gets used it hurts.

So why does it happen?

It often happens as a result of biomechancial deficiency or imbalance. This imbalance causes muscles to do too much or do a different job than what it was designed for. This imbalance can also cause the tendons to work in a different path or groove to where they should, this again causes an irritation or inflammation.

It can also happen if the muscle is stronger than the tendon itself. This puts the tendon under a lot of pressure as it cannot support the action the muscle is doing.

I’ve seen this in an international level fishing caster who had decided to strengthen his bicep to help his performance but unfortunately he didn’t strengthen his tendon. At first it started as an ache and he tried to compete through it and sadly it became that damaged that the tendon snapped away from the bone and now he can only compete at a domestic level.

How do you treat it?

Tendons work under the eccentric contraction (lengthening) of the muscle. This is why most of the time it is caused by repeated bouts of jumping, twisting or turning in sports. Taking time out of these activities will help the tendon ‘calm’.

Tendonitis is a warm injury so icing while resting is also essential. This allows the tendon to cool and reduces the pain your feeling.

Physiotherapy treatment will also help to remove any swelling in the tendon and release the tension in the surrounding muscles, with plenty of hands on treatment.

This allows the muscles and tendons to go back into the grooves and positions that they were designed to be in. Stretching can also be a vital part of recovery to relieve the pressure on the tendon.

Strengthening the surrounding muscles and the tendon itself then becomes necessary. Eccentric strengthening is the only thing that will strengthen it. An eccentric contraction is performed by resisting the opposite action.

For example the bicep bends the elbow; so to strengthen the tendon you must resist straightening of the elbow.

The big thing to understand is that it will hurt so once it’s ‘calmed’ the next step will cause pain.

This painful training can last up to 6 weeks but don’t worry this is normal and will mean that the original pain has less chance of coming back and result in better performing muscles and joints improving your body as a whole.

The worst thing to do…… and I’ve seen it countless times, is to just rest and ice then go back to the original activities. Do not do this, it will only end up making things worse in the long run.




Anyway hope this has helped if you or someone you know thinks they may have tendonitis.

If you’d like to read more about sports/exercise injuries take a look here:


Speak soon

Kev, the massage king 🙂

Paul Gough
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