Tendonitis and Tendonosis: The Four Causes

Tendons are the strong soft tissues which attached your muscles to your bones. They are very resilient, as they transfer all the power generated by your muscles to your bones, keeping you upright and moving.

Tendonitis is a tendon injury which may have only been around for a short amount of time. It is defined by the presence of inflammation within the tendon from tearing or trauma.

Tendonosis is a more chronic or long-term tendon injury that is just not healing. This could be due to repeatedly re-injuring the tendon, or a host of other factors.

Tendonitis and tendonosis may be caused by the same four things, but they need different treatment approaches. I will be discussing this further in future blogs.

1- Overuse

Too much training or overuse of the muscle, causing stress and strain, without enough recovery time for your body to catch up will eventually lead to injury. Tendons are more susceptible to overuse than the muscle belly itself, as the rate of healing in a tendon is slower.

2- Structural Distortion & Misalignment

Having joints that are locked up and out of alignment places unbalanced stresses on joints and loads up the tendons in ways that they are not designed or optimally able to handle.

3- Muscular Imbalances

This includes muscular weakness as well as spasm or poor timing of muscle contraction. When muscles don’t fire correctly both in timing and sequence extra stress is placed on your tendons.

4- Poor Balance

When your nervous system isn’t functioning at its best, your balance is one area that can suffer. When your balance is ‘off’, your control and awareness of your joints is also ‘off’. Consequently, the stress and risk of injury placed on tissue structures (bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons) is increased.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Tendonitis & Tendonosis

Diagnosing tendon injury is very straight forward.

What’s important in treatment, is to account for the underlying cause, as this will change the approach to treatment.

Treating tendon injuries without specific consideration for underlying causes leads to short-lived relief and failed outcomes over the longer term.

  • Do you need to reconsider your recovery cycles from both work and training?
  • Is the tendon injury a result of a local problem or is the consequence of compensation for structural misalignment somewhere else?
  • Are you suffering from poor balance? Ans what is causing that? Is it coming from sub-par joint function, sluggish vestibulospinal (inner ear mediated) reflexes or poor sensory integration?
  • Is your nervous irritated causing muscular imbalance?
  • Is your nutritional status optimal for repair or do you have a pro-inflammatory diet slowing your healing capacity?

These are just some of the questions we have to answer before proposing the right plan of care for you. To just massage, needle and or medicate the sore spot is to overlook what could be the underlying cause of your problem and invite recurring injury.

Dr Andrew Richards

Dr Andrew Richards

Principle Chiropractor