Tendons Keep Us Performing
Looking after our tendons – by Peter Caine
Our tendons are like springs that store and release the energy we produce in our muscles, turning it into the forces we can generate with our bodies. They are incredible, elastic and resilient structures that allow us to move with power and purpose. So how do we keep them happy?
Here are some suggestions that will help you to keep your tendons healthy and treat them with the respect they deserve:
Get Strong – tendons need loading to function properly. They not only need to be strong structures themselves to handle the daily repetitive stresses they face but they also need to be part of a strong and dynamic functional chain which usually consists of multiple joints and segments, all working seamlessly together.
Go Slow – Think about your tendons when you suddenly put new demands on them. This may be with a new physical activity or a dramatic increase in the speed or volume of an existing activity you participate in. If you take your time and build up to a new activity slowly, your tendons will grow stronger and your body will have time to adjust.
Allow time for recovery – The most demanding activities for tendons are ones with very high elastic loads like running and jumping where the tendon has to cope with rapid changes between absorbing and releasing energy. They can take between 48-72 hours to recover from these types of loads so make sure you allow for this important recovery and adaptation time by planning your exercise sessions accordingly. Take breaks. You can vary your workouts, try different activities, or do something that doesn’t have too much elastic load like swimming, cycling or rowing.
Seek help – If you’re in doubt about the health of your tendons then see your physiotherapist for assessment and advice.