The best part about tendon rehab is you need to facilitate your load to optimal levels, so it doesn’t mean complete cessation of exercise! Tendon rehab is fundamentally based around loading the affected musculotendon unit, so strengthening exercises are key. Research shows best outcomes are associated with a long term (average 12 weeks), progressive and individualised loading programme. So as long as you put the hard graft into your rehab; you’ll go the extra mile!
There are other significant factors that will contribute to your management; such as foot and ankle biomechanics, BMI, psychosocial factors as well as other co-morbidities. As Kelvin stated in our previous blog post, each case of tendon pain is unique and is tailored to you as the individual.
So, what is the norm for Tendon Pain?
Due to the makeup of the tendon fibres and what their role is, it takes either a dramatic change in your load or a build up in load that exceeds your capacity over time to elicit a painful response. This may cause an inflammatory response for an acute change and/or structural change in a more chronic period of excessive loading. Either way, there will be an element of pain that is overriding in either your day-day activities or exercise-based activities.
So, What do we do?
You stop doing what hurts, dur? Well, with tendon pain it isn’t as straight forward, and that’s good news for you! Why? Because it doesn’t mean you have to completely stop all forms of activity. Our aim is to keep the healthy or injured part of the tendon active within our desirable limits and with suitable progressions in activity and exercise; our tolerance will improve over time!
So now we come onto the million-dollar question, what is the right amount of pain?
The criteria for tendon related acceptable pain is really straight forward, we take a subjective interpretation of your pain and provide scores of optimal, acceptable and undesirable intensities of pain. The presence and/or duration of symptoms after a reaction are also monitored and fall into the same categories. Remember, your pain is unique to you, as well as your exercise tolerance – this is all considered when your therapist constructs your rehabilitation programme.
So don’t panic, tendon pain isn’t as debilitating as it seems. With patience and commitment, we will get you back to your goals, and back even stronger than before!