Tendonopathy: Why Early Physical Therapy Intervention is Key!

Tendonitis and tendonosis are two common conditions that affect the tendons, which are the fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone. Both conditions can cause pain and discomfort but they have some unique differences and treatment approaches that are important to understand.

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons, which can occur as a result of overuse or repetitive strain. This can happen when a person engages in activities that put a lot of stress on the tendons, such as sports or certain jobs. The symptoms of tendonitis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the affected area.

On the other hand, tendonosis is a chronic condition that results from the degeneration of the tendons. Unlike tendonitis, which is an acute condition, tendonosis is a chronic condition that is caused by the gradual breakdown of the tendons over time believed to be a result of an untreated tendonitis. The symptoms of tendonosis are similar to those of tendonitis, but they are often more severe and may take longer to respond to Physical Therapy treatment.

One way to differentiate between tendonitis and tendonosis is to look at the location of the pain. Tendonitis typically causes pain at the site of the inflamed tendon, while tendonosis pain is more diffuse and may be felt throughout the affected area. Additionally, tendonitis is more likely to be resolved with treatment, while tendonosis may require more extensive interventions such as surgery.

When it comes to treatment, early Physical Therapy intervention is extremely important to prevent a tendonitis from transitioning into a tendonosis. For tendonitis, Physical Therapy typically focuses on manual therapy techniques to decrease pain/inflammation and isometric exercises to activate the muscle and load the tendon to facilitate healing while limiting discomfort. In a tendonosis, the goal of Physical Therapy is to kickstart the healing cascade with manual therapy interventions such as dry needling and cupping with a combination of slow and heavy eccentric loading to stimulate strengthening and remodeling of the tendon.

The duration of rehabilitation can vary significantly as well. If Physical Therapy is initiated at the immediate onset of a tendonitis, rehabilitation typically takes 6 to 10 weeks to complete. However, if the tendonitis goes untreated and progresses into a tendonosis, rehabilitation can take 3-6 months and sometimes even longer depending on the severity. In either situation, early initiation of Physical Therapy is of upmost importance to maximize favorable outcomes!

If you want to learn more, schedule a FREE 30 Minute Session with Genry Piletsky, DPT to discuss potential treatment options! Book a Move Better with Genry visit today!