Tendinopathy is a painful conditions affecting many tendons such as the Achilles, lateral elbow, lateral hip and rotator cuff tendons. The more I practice and specialise in tendons, the more I realise that all I am doing is guiding you, the patient during your recovery. In fact, I do almost nothing else to get patients better these days. Maybe I’m just getting lazy, but it seems to work! Here are some top tips to empower you (the patient) to get yourself better.
Understand Your Condition:
Understanding what is going on in your body will make the condition much less scary and will help unravel some of the unnecessary worrying. You will also learn that there is only one person who can really get you better – you.
The following questions with appropriate simple answers will help you understand your condition;
- Why does it hurt? Simplest answer is the threshold for your body to signal pain has reduced. The pain does not mean you are doing more damage.
- What caused it? Most likely doing too much activity, but there are also other factors that influence your chance of developing tendon pain. Have you changed anything recently?
- What is the best treatment? This is the treatment, ie. education! But as well as that having a structured plan about exercise and activity.
- Why are you recommending exercise if this caused it? Good question. Initially this does seem strange, until you understand that it is all about exercise, ie doing too much caused it, so to get it better we tempt your body gradually into being able to sustain more and more exercise – this helps you overcome your current barriers in terms of pain and function and achieve your activity goals eg. walk to the shops or run that elusive marathon.
Most patients with this level of knowledge will do a great job self-managing. You might think it is strange that a physio who gets paid to treat people is encouraging them to treat themselves. The truth is there is nothing more satisfying as a practitioner then empowering patients, and seeing the penny drop when they are filled with good knowledge.
It really is as simple as that. Well almost. The advice in this short blog is general and simplified. There are multiple reasons people have tendinopathy and sometime other treatments are required. So please consult someone with experience if you are not sure. But please DO NOT believe them if they try and sell you expensive injections or other treatments before you have tried the above.