Tendonitis is an inflammatory response to acute overload of the tendon, usually associated with microtears and over training. Tendonosis is a degenerative, non-inflammatory process associated with break-down of tendon fibers; it is often associated with too little or too much ankle/foot motion and flat feet. With respect to Achilles tendonosis, it is really common; from early to late degenerative changes, achilles tendonosis accounts for 50% of all sports related injuries.
Signs of tendonitis are pain, redness, tenderness and sometimes a squeaking sensation in the tendon with joint motion. Depending on severity, it may last days to a few weeks.
Signs of tendonosis vary, depending upon the degree of degeneration. Early, there is stiffness with weight-bearing after a period of immobility, and stiffness and pain at the start of exercise which lessens as exercise continues. As degenerative changes progress, it is common to feel pain throughout and following exercise.
Laser is a great treatment for so many muscle and joint conditions:
- It increases the supply of oxygenated blood to the injured area
- It aligns collagen fibers to reduce internal scar formation and enhance tissue elasticity.
- It accelerates regeneration of muscle tissue.
- It accelerates and resolves the inflammatory process
- It promotes regrowth of nerve fibers
- It improves cartilage deposition and joint function
- It stimulates production of osteophytes to accelerate bone repair
With particular respect to tendonitis, laser is included in a treatment plan because it can accelerate and resolve the inflammatory process. With tendonosis, it is the ability of laser to stimulate production of collagen and optimally align collagen fibers, that makes it such a valuable component of an effective treatment plan. The number of laser treatments required to fully settle a tendonitis is 10 or less, whereas many more are required to effectively treat a degenerative injury; typically 16 to 24 treatments over 3 or more months. While that may sound like a lot of treatments, left on its own tendonosis is a slow healer which can easily become a non-healer – a very persistent, chronic injury.
Exercise is always important to healing when there is injury to muscles and joints. With respect to tendon injury, eccentric exercise is particularly relevant because it increases the tensile strength of tendon. Our recommendation for best treatment outcomes relating to both tendonitis and tendonosis is a treatment plan which includes both laser and exercise.
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