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Your doctor said you have tendonitis/tendinopathy…
What does that really mean and how can physical therapy help??

By Dr. Hays and Dr. Gina

What is tendinopathy? How does it happen? What does it feel like?

Tendinopathy occurs due to excessive overuse and overloading of the tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone) when doing repetitive activities. You’ve probably heard the more common term, tendonitis (or tendinitis), to describe these type of overuse injuries, but the medical field is moving away from the “-itis” because the evidence is showing few or no inflammation markers at the tissue level (Sharma, 2005). Commonly affected areas include the Achilles tendon, hamstring, patella, quad, rotator cuff, and bicep. During activities such as walking, running, lifting, working out, or even completing household chores, the tendon is progressively being contracted and lengthened. If the tendon isn’t accustomed to sustaining that load, and the demand continues, patients will get tendinopathy. The sensation can feel sharp, painful, and sometimes even burning. 

Examples of overuse injuries that could lead to tendinopathy:

1. You’re just getting back to working out again after a hiatus and notice some knee or hip pain from increasing the intensity too soon too quickly.

2. You’re vacuuming your home or doing heavy yardwork and notice the repetitive movements are causing some shoulder and elbow pain.

All of these pains can limit you from living a healthy and active life and doing the things you love to do.

So how can physical therapy help?

PT is strongly indicated as conservative treatment for tendinopathy with very positive outcomes (dos Santos, 2019) to return patients to doing what they love to do. There is highly-credible evidence to support doing physical therapy to regain strength and function before getting an expensive MRI or high-risk surgery (Irby, 2020). 

What can the Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs) at Premier PT and Sports Performance do for you?

The DPTs are trained at the doctorate level to evaluate and diagnose musculoskeletal impairments and prescribe appropriate intervention strategies to reduce pain and improve quality of life. After a thorough evaluation and examination and getting to know your history, we can look for deficits in your strength and range of motion and deduce if your pain is coming from an overload of your tendon. From there, we will give you evidence-supported exercises that will appropriately load your tendon, in both shortened and lengthened positions, in order to improve your ability to complete your activities of daily living and return you to your regular fitness routine without fear of re-injury. Even if there is slight tearing in the tendon, the spectrum of isometric and eccentric exercises helps remodel the tendon to make it healthier, stronger, and more resilient (Chen, 2003). 

Feel better, move better, and get back to the things you love with the help of Premier. And remember that in the state of Florida, the direct access law for physical therapy allows you to come straight to us to start your treatment without the need of a referral from an MD.

If your pain is limiting the things you want to do, schedule an appointment with us today! You can do it straight through our website.

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