Adelaide Crows Physiotherapist Mark Nagel talks about Tendon Injuries and what can be done about them.
A very common complaint in the sporting world is tendonitis. The most common areas in the body to have tendon injuries are the Achilles and the Patella (knee) tendons. Whilst the causes for these problems can be varied and often complicated the problem develops when the amount of load that the tendon has to endure is more than it can handle. Commonly pain and stiffness develops and it can be a difficult problem to fix.
Children don’t normally get tendon injuries; they get issues where the tendon joins onto the bone. This is often a result of the rapid growth of the bones and large forces the body is subjected to. Conditions like Osgood- Schlatters disease (pain at the front of the knee) and Sever’s disease (pain at the back of the heel) are a result of the tendon pulling on the bony insertion point. Correct muscle stretching and strengthening as well as modifying the sporting loads can often provide good relief.
In the adult, the tendon injuries occur where the muscle joins the bone or more commonly within the tendon itself. Very occasionally the tendon can snap and require surgery to fix the problem. This requires a long and extensive rehab process that may take up to 12 months to fully recover from. Former Crows captain, Nathan van Berlo has recovered from his Achilles tendon rupture to still run at a very high level. If the problem is the tendon itself then the major intervention required is correct muscle strengthening. This may be static holding type exercises initially and then progress into more complicated exercises that strengthen the muscle through a full range of movement and then into more functional type movement patterns like stepping, lunging and jumping.
Getting back to sport or activity after a tendon injury can be challenging. Advice and treatment from the experienced Adelaide Crows Sports Medicine Physiotherapists can help you recover quicker and learn what exercises you need to do to get back doing what you love best.