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Tendinopathy

Spring has arrived and with it more outside activities like tennis and running. A common injury for tennis players and runners is tendinopathy – damage to a muscle tendon, the most common of which affects the elbow (tennis elbow) and the Achilles tendon. BC’s physiotherapists want to share their Physio-4 for tendinopathy, 4 tips on how to prevent and treat it, to keep British Columbians moving for life.

“Pain is a guiding factor for determining the severity of tendinopathy,” says Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC. “By listening to your physiotherapist and your body and by following the Physio-4 for Tendinopathy, you can help to prevent tendinopathy from occurring or re-occurring.”

  1. Warm up to prevent tendon injury. Our tissues can break down and become painful when there are forces loading them that they cannot adapt to. For example, starting a training program too fast and without adequate rest can put undue strain on ligaments, tendons, and muscles in your shoulders, Achilles and elbow. See your physiotherapist about adding a gentle warm up to prevent injury.
  2. Impact of previous injuries. Old injuries that were not properly treated can create altered alignment and motor control that impacts other areas of the body. See your physiotherapist for a whole body assessment to learn how to integrate all the areas of your body and restore optimal function.
  3. If you are suffering from tennis elbow, avoid lifting anything in a “palm down” position. Wear a wrist or forearm brace to decrease stress on tendons attaching at the elbow. Your physiotherapist can recommend exercises that gently stretch the forearm muscles. Once your pain has settled, your physiotherapist will provide a comprehensive exercise program to stimulate the tendons to repair and reduce the risk of recurrence.
  4. Achilles pain may be caused by undue stress on the tissue. This can be caused by poor alignment of the foot, leg or pelvis; walking or sporting technique; footwear or training errors e.g. too much too soon. Your physiotherapist will assess your individual biomechanics, prescribe exercises to accelerate tendon healing, and provide advice on how to optimize and gradually increase the load through the tendon.

The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. Each month, on movingforlife.ca 4 tips are provided to treat specific health or physical conditions that will help keep British Columbians moving for life. BC’s physiotherapists want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, they are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most.

To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca.

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