Eccentric Exercise for Tendon Pain

Tendon pain (tendonitis) is a very common condition of both younger people who exercise on a regular basis and older people who live a more sedentary life.  Essentially tendonitis is caused by minor rips, tears and disorganisation of the tendonous tissue.  These injuries can occur as the result of sudden trauma (eg lifting a heavier weight than normal) or over a long period of time due to repetitive movements.

Typical areas of tendonitis includes the achilles/lower calf, the elbow, knee and shoulder.

Tendonitis is usually a dull ache that is made worse on movement.  Often there is a cracking or grating sound.

What are the tendons?  Well tendons are the anchors at the end of muscles that connect them to bones and have high levels of collagen to provide strength – unlike muscles which have low levels of collagen, but far more stretch.

Fixing the Problem

One of the most effective ways to treat tendonitis, after initially resting, icing, compressing and elevating (RICE) is the use of ECCENTRIC exercises.  Eccentric muscle action is an overall lengthening of a muscle as it develops tension – typically putting down a load with control.

Eccentric exercises work on the tendonous part of the muscle-tendon unit (concentric exercises work on the muscular part).  Muscles are divided into two sections, 1. the contractile (red) muscle belly and 2. the (white) tendon and non-contractile components.

Active muscle lengthening (eccentric contraction) stresses and thereby strengthens the (white) tendon tissue more.

Attached is a list of Eccentric Exercises for Tendonopathy, however please note all serious pain or debility should be seen by a qualified medical practitioner.