Tendon Health and Aging

December 22, 2021

As we age it is not uncommon to experience increasing bouts of painful tendonitis in our bodies.  Tendonitis refers to an inflammation of a tendon, which is the part of a muscle that attaches the muscle to the bone.  Tendonitis can occur for a number of reasons, but primarily occurs due to an increased demand on the tendon.  This can come in the form of overuse, a change in activity level or develop due to a loss of strength in the muscle.  

For example, after a long winter many of us may begin increasing the amount of time we spend walking outdoors when spring arrives.  This new level of activity involving a significant increase in steps and/or walking on uneven terrain, can result in Achilles tendonitis if your calf muscles have become tighter or weaker over the winter.  

The question becomes, how can we avoid these nagging injuries and remain active at the same time?  The answer is actually very simple, we need to move and challenge our bodies.  The less we move, the more our tissues adapt to being in a sedentary position.  This is why staying active throughout the year is so important for maintaining our mobility.  Still, walking by itself is not enough!  We need to incorporate full body movements into our routines.  This can come in the form of hobbies such as woodworking, gardening, yoga, pickle ball and golfing.  Mixing and matching activities and hobbies that challenge different parts of your body is the key.

Lastly, challenging your body with “load” is vital to keeping your tendons healthy.  By “load” I mean challenging your muscles by lifting weight.  Weight lifting increases muscle strength, muscle size and encourages your body to produce collagen, which is crucial for tendons.  As a rehab professional, I incorporate weight training for diagnoses such as muscle tears, bursitis and tendonitis on a daily basis.

If any of these issues are affecting you or someone you know, please reach out to Kinetic Physical Therapy or Kinetic Stretch 360 at 610-430-3545 to see if these programs are right for you!