Tendon problem – Is rest always helpful?

September 16, 2020

Have you been resting an injury, and your symptoms are worse or not improving? This can happen if you have an injury to a tendon. An injured tendon is typically a result of over-using the tendon or doing “too much, too soon”. The tendon can become irritated because it does not have the tolerance for the activity. The irritation to the tendon can be what is causing the symptoms.  

Research is indicating that rest can limit the tendons ability to heal. The tendon needs to be used to promote healing and for symptoms to improve; however, the activity needs to be modified to stay within the tendon’s tolerance. A tendon can typically handle an activity if it causes less than 3/10 pain during the activity, and the symptoms resolve quickly afterwards. For example, an Achilles tendinitis may develop when progressing a 5 km walking program too quickly.  The Achilles tendon doesn’t have a tolerance to 5km, so it creates heel pain. A 2 km program may be more appropriate until the tendon can tolerate a longer walk. 

So, if you are struggling with an injury that isn’t improving with rest, then you should try moving! If you’re unsure on how much you should be doing, then it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with a physiotherapist!  Need help with a tendon problem?  We can help with your specific exercise design. Contact us at 738-8299.

Mairi Simonds , PT

Mairi is a physiotherapist at the Human Performance Centre. You can contact her at 738-8299.