FIND OUT ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TENDINITIS WHEN RUNNING
Tendinitis bane of runners? Many runners suffer or have suffered from tendinitis. Maybe you are one of those people… But what is tendinitis? How can you prevent it? How is it treated?
WHAT IS TENDINITIS?
In short, the tendon is the part between the muscle and bone that connects the two together: it is a zone that is subjected to mechanical stresses. Tendinitis is the inflammation of this tendon. In the new medical classifications, rather than the term tendinitis, which is no longer used by professionals, tendinopathy has become the preferred term.
More exactly, there are various tendinopathies depending on the location and/or structure of the affected area:
- Enthesopathy: pain at the point of attachment with the bone
- Paratendinitis: inflammation of the tendon's membrane
- Tendinosis: damage to the core of the tendon
There are similarities in the symptoms of these tendinopathies: pain when palpating, stretching and contracting, even if the details vary according to the tendinopathy in question.
TENDINITIS IN RUNNERS
The most frequent form of tendinitis experienced by runners is located:
- in the fascia lata (outer part of the thigh, more commonly known as "windscreen wiper syndrome")
- in the patellar tendon (tendon of the quadriceps)
- in the tibialis posterior muscle (muscle located behind the internal malleolus)
- and particularly in the Achilles tendon.
Tendinitis generally manifests itself in the following 2 ways: sudden or progressive. This pain can have several interpretations such as a general fatigue indicating the onset of excessive training, a posture-related problem, targeted muscular deficiency, a footwear-related problem, a lack of hydration, incorrect running technique, etc.
HOW TO TREAT TENDINITIS?
Whether it emerges suddenly or progressively, tendinitis requires rest. Only the muscle concerned needs to be rested, not the entire body: maintaining some physical activity that does not cause pain in order to continue moving the body and stimulate blood flow and inflammation draining.
Regarding the treatment of tendinitis, it is not possible to generalise… Each person is unique and reacts differently to the suggested treatments. Whatever the situation, the first step is to contact a physiotherapist, ideally as quickly as possible. The more you wait, the more the inflammation can become established, leading ultimately to tissue fibrosis (the tissues become stuck to one another, thereby reducing mobility).
The general idea behind the treatment is to control the inflammation. Firstly, and for as short a period as possible, the aim is to reduce the pain using anti-inflammatory and training techniques. During this initial phase, the damaged tendon must be rested.
Then, using vascularisation techniques – like deep transverse friction massage, shockwaves, etc. – the physio seeks to significantly increase the blood flow in order to nourish the tendon and enable regeneration.
HOW TO PREVENT TENDINITIS?
Naturally, the tendinitis must be treated, but this must not be done without finding the cause so as to prevent the pain returning in the future! The general assumption is that the affected muscles are weak in relation to the required activity and, in particular, when they are required to "slow down" (i.e. eccentric contraction or the muscle contraction used to slow down a movement).
Targeted eccentric strengthening will therefore prevent tendinitis in the long term.These strengthening exercises can, for example, be done during the winter or during breaks ranging from 3 to 6 weeks.
If the problem is posture related, special exercises and mobility exercises may also be needed to correct any flaws.
It is up to you to try to prevent this pathology that can result in frustrating long-term breaks, through a balanced diet, special exercises, regular rest, etc.
Bear in mind that the longer the problem persists, the more work will be required. To avoid this inconvenience, making a correction to your running motion that is tailored to your own specific requirements, in a progressive and controlled way, can be the solution.
In this way, it is possible for runners to avoid tendinitis or tendinopathy. With the right exercises, the right choices and a better posture, it can be treated over the long term. A little patience is required!