Tendons are tough, fibrous cords of collagen that attach muscle to bone. In a healthy tendon, the fibers of collagen are straight and parallel. Tendinosis refers to a chronic degeneration and subsequent scarring, hardening, and thickening of the tendons. Common symptoms include pain and a loss of flexibility in joints such as the elbow, shoulder, knee, and hip.
Looking for tendonitis treatment near you? A typical treatment plan includes rest and physical therapy to strengthen muscle imbalance and regain flexibility. Discover more with IMPACT Physical Therapy.
Intense or repetitive activity over time can overstress the tendon and create small tears and disorganized collagen fibers, leading to tendinosis. Physical trauma such as a sports injury or fall can also cause an acute onset of tendinosis. Still, older adults are more susceptible than younger people because tendons naturally lose flexibility as we age.
What does tendinosis feel like? Pain, swelling, and inflammation are common in the area around an affected joint — including the tendons, ligaments and muscles. Tendinosis pain may build gradually over time, or occur suddenly. Even after a sudden onset, symptoms may still decline after a few days of rest. Symptoms include:
During your first visit, a physical therapist will help go over symptoms and help come up with a custom treatment plan to fit your needs. Most tendinosis treatment plans will be centered around rest. Restricting movement is the most effective way to reduce inflammation in an affected area, so your physical therapist may also recommend a bandage or splint. Exercises designed to correct muscle imbalances and build strength can help to prevent future tendon issues. Treatments like Blood Flow Restriction Therapy can also accompany exercise to help increase movement and muscle while temporarily reducing pain.
While people can often confuse tendinitis vs. tendinosis, they are different and can require different treatment and require different lengths of time to heal. Tendinosis is a chronic, long-term degeneration of tendon tissue. Tendinitis is tendon pain caused primarily by inflammation, and more often affects younger people as a sports injury. Knee pain and other issues caused by tendinitis can often be relieved through anti-inflammatories and ice.
If tendinosis pain is impacting your quality of life, you have options! A physical therapy clinician in your area can create a customized tendinosis treatment plan to rebuild your strength and tendon tissue. Request an appointment at IMPACT Physical Therapy to learn more!