Treatment of Tendinosis
When an inflamed or irritated tendon, the condition referred to as tendonitis, fails to heal, the tendon degenerates. This condition is called tendinosis. Tendons are the thick, fibrous cords that attach muscles to bone. They transmit the power generated by a muscle contraction to move a bone. Tendinosis usually affects only one part of the body at a time. Although tendinosis is common in middle or old age as the tendons become more susceptible to injury, younger people who exercise vigorously as well as people who perform repetitive tasks are also susceptible.
How does tendinosis develop?
The most common cause of tendinosis is injury or overuse during work or play, particularly if the individual is poorly conditioned, has bad posture or uses the affected limb in an awkward position. If the injured tendon is not allowed to heal properly, degeneration of the tendon will occur. Occasionally an infection within the tendon sheath may be responsible for the initial inflammation. Tendon sheaths can also be affected by joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma, Reiter’s Syndrome, thyroid diseases and diabetes.
Tendinosis is also closely linked to ligament laxity. When a tendon is injured or degenerated, the ligament no longer has dynamic support of the joint. Likewise, a weakened or lax ligament leads to an unstable joint, which means the tendon has no static support and would be stressed.
Symptoms are very similar to tendonitis. The affected tendons are usually painful when moved or touched. Even a small movement of the joint near the tendon may cause severe pain. Stiffness and restricted movement in the affected area may also occur. The skin over the tendon may be warm and red, and sometimes a tender lump may appear. The tendon sheaths may be visibly swollen from the accumulation of fluid and inflammation, or they may remain dry and rub against the tendons, causing a grating sensation or a sound that can be heard with a stethoscope when the joint is moved.
Options for tendinosis treatment
The typical tendinosis treatment, the degeneration of a tendon after an injury that was not allowed to heal properly, is to stop whatever activity involves the affected joint and rest. Since this condition often afflicts athletes, this means no more training and no more playing the sport. If a person does not feel better with rest, the person may be referred for physical therapy or be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other modern medical treatment options include cryotherapy and massage. But, although they may provide temorary pain relief, they do not address the root of the problem – weakened and/or injured tendons and ligaments. Often a tendon issue becomes chronic and the person is finding it more and more difficult to perform daily tasks without feeling a nagging pain, let alone participate in sports to the level at which they were prior to the tendon injury.
The Prolotherapy approach for tendinosis treatment
What does a degenerated tendon need? Regeneration! This is why Prolotherapy (“Prolo” for proliferative injection therapy) is the ideal treatment for tendon injuries, especially chronic cases. Prolotherapy injections at the site of the tendon attachments, as well as any tender or lax ligaments that also support our joints, offers excellent results. The Prolotherapy solutions trigger the body’s immune/healing components to concentrate on the area. This surge of blood flow to the area gives the tendon/ligaments a second chance at healing. In our office, we typically see that, three to six treatments are needed, in total. A better approach is to treat the degenerated tendon with . In addition, treating the ligaments in the affected joint with Prolotherapy can also be very effective. This is because tendons and ligaments reciprocally affect one another, with the injury of a tendon causing ligament stress and laxity, and ligament laxity causing further tendon stress. It’s a vicious cycle that Prolotherapy can end. This approach will encourage the damaged tissues to heal as quickly as possible, restoring the tendons and ligaments back to their pre-injury state over time.