What is tendinopathy?

Tendon disorders occur as a result of wear and tear, overuse or incorrect load bearing

Tendinopathy is a disease of the tendon caused by wear and tear, overuse, or incorrect use of the joints in the body. Tendons connect muscle to bones, and although tendinopathy, or tendinosis or tendon disorder as it is sometimes referred to, is generally non-inflammatory, it can lead to pain and reduced mobility.

Achilles tendinopathy

What causes tendinopathy?

Tendons transmit the power of the muscles onto the bones. This often causes a strong leverage effect and strains the tendons by a power many times higher than the actual body weight. Prolonged activity, repetitive movements or incorrect load bearing can all lead to irritation and inflammation, combined with pain and reduced mobility. Treatments are usually a lengthy process.

The most well-known tendons are the Achilles tendon (the largest tendon in the human body found at the heel), the biceps tendon, the tendons in the hand, and the elbow tendon. Many tendons can be felt quite easily and their anatomical function clearly seen. 

Focal point: tendon sheath

Wherever muscle power is directed around a corner to reach the intended bone, the human body uses tendon sheaths. These are filled with a fluid very similar to synovial joint fluid and can be considered as protective friction bearings, helping guard the tendon from mechanical stress as it glides across bony structures. When healthy, the tendon sheaths ensure a smooth gliding of the tendon around the corner. But the stress at this point is particularly high, which can cause tendinopathy in the tendon sheath.