By Physiotherapist Jordan Coffey.

How is a tendon different from a muscle, ligament, fat or vessels

A tendon is a strong, flexible cord of tissue very similar to a rope. Tendons connect muscles to bone. Ligaments go from bone to bone and provide stability. Muscles create movement of our limbs!

Tendons also act as shock absorbers when you jump, run, or do other movements. Tendons are made up of two main proteins: elastin and collagen. Collagen fibres are flexible, strong, and resilient to damage. In comparison to muscle, tendons have a poorer overall blood supply. The tendon tissue relies heavily on synovial fluid to provide nutrition to the soft tissue.

What are the major types of tendon Injury?

  1. Tendonitis – involves an acutely inflamed, swollen tendon that does not have microscopic tendon damage. The underlying culprit in this condition is inflammation, which causes swelling and pain. Common types of tendonitis include:
  • Rotator cuff (Swimmer’s shoulder)
  • Achilles
  • Elbow (tennis and golfer’s elbow)
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Patellar tendon (Jumper’s knee)
  1. Tendinosis – involves a chronically damaged tendon with disorganised fibres and a hard, thickened, and scarred appearance. Tendinosis often occurs overtime in the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, and Achilles heel tendon.
  2. Tenosynovitis – this condition affects the sheath lining around the tendon. The most common form of tenosynovitis is known as DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as “Mother’s thumb” as mothers are always busy picking up and rocking their babies. These repetitive hand movements lead to overuse of the thumb and wris
  3. Avulsion – an acute tendon injury in which the tendon is forcibility torn away from the bony attachment site. This type of tendon injury is a direct result of high loads.
  4. Tendon tear or rupture – this involves a partial tear or complete rupture of the tendon. Generally, there are 3 grades of tendon tears.
  • Grade I: small tear, <5% loss of function, <10 degrees range of motion loss
  • Grade II: larger tear, 5-50% loss of function, 10-25 degrees range of motion loss
  • Grade III: complete tear, >50% loss of function, >25 degrees range of motion loss
  1. Calcific Enthesitis – inflammation of the entheses (where the tendon attaches) can cause new bony tissue to form. Resultantly, the new bone tissue gets in the way or normal movement and function. This may result in pain and in time, bony spur formation.

How can I keep my tendons throughout my entire body healthy?

DON’T SMOKE. Several studies have shown that smoking and nicotine impair the musculoskeletal systems’ ability to heal.

ADEQUATE SLEEP. Yes, that’s right you heard me. In addition to diet, sleep helps alleviate the stress of free radicals in the body which may delay tendon and wound healing.

WARM UP. Doing some light upper or lower body aerobic activity prior to exercise helps facilitate blood flow to the tendons and loosens them up.

REGULAR EXERCISE. Cardio exercise, flexibility work, strength training, and balance exercise are essential in optimising tendon health. Keeping your body moving in a variety of different ways will prevent overload to your tendons.

STRETCHING. Stretching post exercise can help prevent tendon injury.

ADEQUATE FOOTWEAR. Wearing proper-fitted athletic shoes during exercise reinforces proper lower-limb ergonomics and alignment.

REST DAYS. Incorporate rest days into your workout regime to lessen the chances of overworking and overstressing your tendons.

Who should I book with?

All of our Physiotherapy team are qualified to help you with this kind of injury. Your Physiotherapist will guide you on the treatments needed as such as home exercise, taping, massage and or dry needling.

Call 9756 7424 or alternatively book online today

Cancellation Policy

We have a same day cancellation policy where a $50 fee will be charged for missed or cancelled appointments. Please call 9756 7424 or email to reschedule or cancel Thank you for your understanding.

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Grassi, Alberto, et al. “An update on the grading of muscle injuries: a narrative review from clinical to comprehensive systems.” Joints, vol. 4, no. 1, 13 June 2016, pp. 39-46.

Merck Manual (Consumer Version). Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis. (,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/muscle,-bursa,-and-tendon-disorders/tendinitis-and-tenosynovitis) Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.

“Tendon: Function, Anatomy, & Common Injuries.” Cleveland Clinic, edited by Anthony Fernandez, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Oct. 2021, Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.