Training and Tendon Pain

Hey all,

Thankfully, with gyms and other facilities back open, we are now all able to resume our usual workload. Unfortunately, this has led to a bit of an influx of patients with similar issues related to a quick increase in training load.

We are all familiar with the feeling of getting back into an exercise such as running after a long break and feeling very unfit, whereby our aerobic system is no longer accustomed to that level of training and needs time to build back up.

The same can be said for our musculoskeletal system, particularly one commonly problematic tissue- our tendons. Tendons are strong, dense tissue that connects muscles to bones.

Training and tendons

To clarify some terminology, tendinopathy is an umbrella term for all tendon issues which includes tendinosis (degeneration) and the more commonly heard tendinitis (inflammation). There is overlap between the two and distinguishing them is not important here.

Importantly, tendons are renowned for responding poorly to sudden, large increases in training volume, frequency and intensity, such as at a time like this… For this reason, it is important whilst your body readjusts to take more time than usual to warm up and cool down, and to take very gradual steps towards getting back to your normal routine. This may mean initially lowering your number of reps, sets, weight etc. and building from there.

This is important to do, as anyone with experience of issues with tendons such as that of the glutes, achilles, elbow and knee will know that they are frustrating and tricky to deal with and require lots of patience.

How to tell if you have tendon pain

An easy way to distinguish tendon pain from regular old muscle soreness is that it tends to be sharper, one-sided only, confined to a small area and particularly sore at the start of the day/workout.

To sum up – take it slow in your return to regular programming! Your body will be able to get back to pre-lockdown strength and endurance but you must allow it time to do so. If you have any questions or feel that you may need to see me about a possible tendon or other issues, please feel free to contact me.

Matt Wilson, Osteopath