Tendons are fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons help absorb force and then transmit it, much like a spring would. They are unbelievably strong structures, designed to handle incredibly high loads.
Inflammation of the tendon or tendonitis is often due to over-use or repetitive strain, hence the injury was commonly known as a repetitive strain injury or RSI. Overtime, microtrauma to the tendon by repetitive loading can occur, creating inflammation as the body attempts to heal. The inflammation can cause swelling, redness, restriction of movement and pain. Healing time is highly variable and longer than most people would like, however early intervention and the correct treatment can prevent a life time of suffering.
All tendons can become tendonopathic, however the most common tendons affected are:
- Supraspinatus, however all muscles of the rotator cuff can become tendonopathic
- Gluteal muscles, generally gluteus medius
- Extensors carpi radialis brevis (or tennis elbow)
- Tibialis posterior
A bursa is a fluid filled sac that allows for fluid movement and decreased friction between surfaces, often found where a tendon or muscle glide over a bone. Bursitis is inflammation of this fluid filled sac. Bursitis can present as a swollen, hot, red area close to a joint. It can be caused by a systemic disease, although more often it is as the results of a traumatic injury or repetitive strain.
Common bursas affected are:
- Trochanteric (hip)
- Subacromial (shoulder)
- Patella (knee)
- Olecranon (elbow)
As spoken about, these injuries can range from a dull ache to incredibly debilitating pain, making simple activities of daily living (ADL’s) like sleeping and walking painful. Getting an accurate, early diagnosis by a skilled therapist who understands these problems can help prevent the injury becoming chronic. The longer these problems are left, the longer they take to resolve.
Often treatment of these problems is more complex than just massaging the area. Luckily Osteopaths are trained to look at the body holistically and thus looking at all the contributing areas is something that comes naturally to us. Treatment generally aims at improving the function of not only the injured structure but also addressing the other areas that may be increasing the strain on these areas. At Sports & Spinal Albury we believe that treating the problem AND it’s underlying cause is the best way to restore healthy joint function.