A condition that physiotherapists often treat is called tendinopathy.
Also known as tendinitis, it’s a tendon disorder that results in pain, swelling, and impaired function.
People with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing tendinopathy than those without diabetes.
Most tendinopathies take months to rehabilitate and get back to full, pain-free function. That’s why finding out what you can do to reduce your risk is really important.
The bucket analogy
To develop a tendinopathy you have to ask your tendon to do more work than it can handle, consistently.
Think of the tendon working as filling up a bucket. Each contraction leads to a little more water filling the bucket.
Contract and load equals a splash more in the bucket.
Contract and load again equals another splash.
When the bucket is full, the metaphorical tendon it represents is also full of work. This is where tendinopathy and pain often starts.
All of us have tendons which can do bucket loads of work. Where diabetes comes in is the size of the bucket – it’s much smaller.
We know from research and clinical practice that if you have diabetes your ability to work your tendons is reduced. In other words, your bucket size is smaller.
This sounds like bad news but there is a silver lining.
You can increase your bucket size
That’s right. You can increase your tendon’s ability to tolerate load.
How? With exercises and training.
Pre-injury, this can be guided by exercise physiology (EP) and is often part of a regular exercise routine. Loading muscles, bones and tendons together increase their ability to work.
When you’re injured, trying to live your life with a full bucket of work in your tendons means you need to get really specific with its management.
With the help of our physiotherapist, Naveena Seethapathy, a little bit of work can be taken out of your overloaded tendon, the work can be removed completely, or moved to another bucket (tendon).
This might be hands-on therapy, gait or movement re-training, shoe or aid use. Naveena can then work on that bucket capacity by training your sore tendon to be able to do more work in the future.
Help for those in pain
For those with diabetes, tackling full-bucket tendinopathies via this structured and evidence-based approach is proven to be the most effective method of treating tendinopathy.
You also get some great side effects. Those relating to building bigger buckets include:
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Increased physical activity
- Decreased usage of medications.
This can have a profound effect on your life, even if it just means you can now go for a walk to the shops!
Want to get on top of your pain?
If you want to build bigger buckets and get on top of your tendon pain, make a booking with our physiotherapist, Naveena, today.
The quickest way to do this is by tapping on ‘Book an Appointment’ on our website. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.