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Embracing Physical Therapy and Tempo Resistance Training for Tendon Health: Beyond Quick Fixes

Tendon-related injuries, whether in the patellar tendon of the knee, the tendons of the rotator cuff in the shoulder, or the Achilles tendon in the ankle, present a widespread challenge to individuals across various lifestyles and activity levels. The search for effective treatments has led to an array of options, from corticosteroid injections (CSI) and tendon needling (TN) to physical therapy exercises. However, emerging evidence suggests that a consistent approach involving physical therapy and specifically, heavy slow resistance (HSR) training, may hold the key to long-term tendon health and functionality. This broader perspective emphasizes the importance of understanding and applying effective treatment modalities across different tendon injuries.

The Paradigm Shift in Tendon Treatment

Recent studies investigating treatment outcomes for conditions like lateral elbow tendinopathy provide valuable insights that can be extrapolated to other tendon injuries. One pivotal study revealed that while interventions such as CSI or TN could offer short-term relief, they did not confer superior long-term benefits compared to placebo treatments. More notably, the integration of HSR training into the treatment regimen showed promising results in both the short and long term, without the need for invasive procedures.

Heavy Slow Resistance (HSR) Training: A Universal Tendon Therapy

HSR training stands out due to its principle of applying gradual, controlled stress to tendons, facilitating natural healing processes. This method is not exclusive to one type of tendon injury but is applicable and beneficial for tendons across the body, including the knee, shoulder, and ankle. Its advantages include:

  • Enhanced Tendon Healing: By gradually increasing tendon load, HSR training encourages adaptive strengthening of the tendon, promoting resilience and functionality.
  • Long-Term Benefits: Unlike temporary solutions, HSR training aims at sustainable recovery by addressing the underlying causes of tendon weakness or damage, thus reducing the risk of re-injury.
  • Empowerment Through Education: Engaging in HSR training under the guidance of a physical therapist not only facilitates recovery but also equips individuals with the knowledge to maintain tendon health independently.

Rethinking CSI and TN for Tendon Injuries

While CSI and TN have their place in the spectrum of treatments, their limitations, especially in the context of long-term tendon health, are becoming increasingly apparent. For instance, the potential for CSI to weaken tendon structures over time poses significant concerns for sustainable recovery. Similarly, TN, although beneficial for some, does not universally outperform conservative management strategies that include HSR training.

A Holistic Approach to Tendon Recovery

The journey towards overcoming tendon injuries—be it in the knee, shoulder, or ankle—calls for a holistic treatment approach. This involves prioritizing methods that not only offer symptom relief but also target the root causes of tendon issues to ensure a durable recovery. The evidence supporting HSR training underscores the effectiveness of physical therapy exercises in fostering tendon resilience and strength across various anatomical sites.

Conclusion: Emphasizing Sustainable Tendon Health

As we navigate the complex landscape of tendon injuries and their treatments, the focus should shift towards embracing and advocating for approaches that guarantee long-term health and well-being. The role of HSR training, complemented by comprehensive physical therapy, emerges as a fundamental element in this paradigm. By focusing on sustainable recovery methods, we can better support individuals in returning to their activities without the looming threat of recurrence, thereby promoting overall musculoskeletal health and resilience.

AUTHOR

Larry Hernandez

On Point Movement And Performance

"We Help Active Adults And Athletes Get Back To Their Favorite Workouts And Activities Without Pain Killers Or Surgery"

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