Optimal Loading for Tendon Rehabilitation

As a physiotherapist having many clients with tendon issues, the biggest question I have is why did injury occur in the first place? Was it due to trauma, is it linked to training loads or is it something else causing effects to the tendons. Our job is to help guide you to have the best rehab getting you back into your sport or activities. This blog will discuss the importance of optimal loading for tendon rehabilitation.

Optimal loading is what physios strive to achieve when talking about rehabilitation, although due to the nature of tissue healing and recovery it can be made difficult to follow a ‘recipe’ program. Therefore we need to adapt our exercises and progress you through the rehabilitation process to get you back to the top of your game.

When deciding what rehab pathway is appropriate we must first look at what stage of injury we are in. There are two key stages of tendon injury, reactive and degenerative. A Reactive tendinopathy can be described as an acute tendon injury where appropriate management strategies would be to de-load the tendon to let the inflammatory process settle down, then proceeding with progressing tendon loading. A degenerative tendon is where symptoms have been present for a while. A good progressive loading program to increase tissue capacity and tolerance to load is needed.

The table below describes the nature of these types of injuries:

Reactive Degenerative
Symptom Acute onset of symptoms, slow to settle down Chronic – long history of symptoms
Age 15-25 30-60
Time 2-6 weeks 3-6 months
Physio management Massage, orthotics, Dry needling etc. Progressive load
Treatment Unload and reload Load,- Heavy and slow

The image below can help us understand the architecture of a tendon. As a tendon injury starts to proceed into a degenerative tendon the striation of the collagen go from being very linear and to being disrupted and become more disorganised.  This demonstrates the change that occurs and therefore it is important to have an appropriate exercise program to prevent further injury.

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Here at Bureta Physio we can help guide you through your injury. We will focus on the injury itself but always ask the question to why this occurred in the first place.

Key points:

  • Depending on the type of injury, we need to work together to establish the best management strategies for rehab
  • Acute reactive tendons may need to be unloaded prior to reloading
  • Chronic degenerative tendons can take months to heal fully
  • As a degenerative tendon develops the architecture of the collagen fibres becomes disorganised. Through loading appropriately we can enable the tendon to be able to adapt to required loading and therefore allowing return to sport.

Please call us on 07 576 1860 to discuss your injury and our team will be more than happy to help.

Written by Braedon Catchpole – Physiotherapist

Lateral ankle sprains – How should they be managed?

Diagnosis, Treatment and prevention of ankle sprains: Update of an evidence-based clinical guideline – vuurberg et al., 2018.
Lateral ankle sprains, how should they be managed

Lateral (outside) ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury. Approximately 40% of all traumatic ankle injuries occur during sport, and only 50% of individuals seek medical attention.
Due to the poor attention to injury, a large population develop chronic ankle instability. 1-4 years following initial injury, 5-46% of individuals with chronic ankle instability still experience pain, 3-34% has recurrent sprains, and 33-55% report instability.
Risk Factors
Predisposing factors that increase the risk of sustaining a lateral ankle sprain compose of Intrinsic factors (patient-related), and Extrinsic factors (sport, environment).
Intrinsic risk factors
Modifiable risk factors include:
• Reduced strength around the ankle and calf
• Limited ankle mobility and range
• Poor proprioception (“the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement”)
• Low cardiorespiratory endurance
• Increased BMI (Body mass index)
• Preseason deficiencies in postural control/balance e.g single leg stand
Non-modifiable risk factors include:
• Anatomical abnormalities in the ankle, knee alignment, and multiple clinical defects
Extrinsic risk factors
• Sport dependent – Highest incidence of lateral ankle sprains were found in: Basketball, indoor volleyball (landing following jumping), field sports, climbing.
• Playing surface – Natural grass vs artificial turf vs court
• Position played in sport – e.g within soccer, defenders obtain 42.3% of lateral ankle sprains in the sport.
Treatment
Below is some of the latest evidence for the best treatment options, and how we can get you back running around with the kids, or back onto the sports field.

 R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Purpose: to reduce pain and swelling, improve patient function
RICE alone as a treatment is not enough, the best evidence is to apply the RICE principles alongside with exercise therapy.

 Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’S) – E.g Ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac
Purpose: to reduce pain and swelling for acute injuries
If you have any concerns in regards to medication please discuss with your doctor.
Adverse effects may include: stomach discomfort, allergic reactions, heart burn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation and more.

Immobilisation
A minimum of 4 weeks in a low leg cast following an acute lateral ankle sprain results in less optimal outcomes when compared with functional support (brace, tape, tubigrip/bandage) and exercise strategies with duration of 4-6 weeks.
However recent evidence showed a short period (less than 10 days) of immobilisation with plaster cast or rigid support (brace) can be of added value in the treatment of acute lateral ligament injuries as it helps reduce pain and oedema (swelling), and improves functional outcomes

Functional support i.e ankle brace/ tape/ tubigrip
Tubigrip/compression stocking following the acute phase of treatment begins to become unhelpful as it doesn’t provide sufficient support. Therefore using a lace up brace or semi-rigid brace will provide enough ankle support
Ankle braces results in better outcome compared to rigid or K-tape
K-tape is unlikely to provide sufficient mechanical support to unstable ankles

 Exercise
Consist of neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercises
Reduce the risk of recurrent injuries by reducing ankle instability, and associated with quicker time to recovery and enhanced outcomes

 Manual mobilisations
Manual mobilisations provide short term increase in ankle range of movement and can reduce pain in lateral ankle sprains
However manual therapy in combination with exercise therapy results in better outcomes than exercises alone

 Surgical therapy
60-70% of individuals who sustain lateral ankle sprains respond well to non-surgical treatment programmes
Surgery is mainly reserved for patients who have chronic ankle instability and who have not responded to comprehensive exercise-based physio programme.

Other therapies
Other treatment options are can also be used during treatment, although please discussed with your physio if these are beneficial for you.
These including: Acupuncture, Vibration therapy, laser therapy, electrotherapy, shockwave therapy, ultrasound.

Here at Bureta Physio we can properly assess your injury and give you the appropriate recommendations to get you back into what you love doing. Call 07 576 1860 to arrange an appointment time or click here to book online

 

Knock knees, flat feet, fallen arches – Should I be concerned about these with my child?

As children grow from babies through toddlers, young children, the dreaded teens and finally to adults they go through many growth stages. During different stages of growth their body is placed under varying stresses. There are a number of factors or biomechanical issues that are good to have checked out by a physio to help ensure your children stay pain and injury free.

Babies-toddlers: during this stage there are a number of milestones which are most often the largest concern. These include the recommended time to sit, crawl, walk and develop higher functions likes socialising and language. It is important to realise that all children develop at differing rates, and some may bottom shuffle instead of crawling or skip it altogether and go straight to walking. If you have concerns at this stage speak with your GP/paediatric nurse or physio. Odds are your child just has quite reached that stage yet.

Toddler-young children: during this stage changes in the alignment of the lower limb and growth spurts can result in a variety of problems. Many children will often suffer ‘growing pains’, flat feet, knock or bowed knees and clumsiness with sport and running. If you notice any of these it is important to have them checked to ensure that growing pains are not muscle/tendon injuries and that foot issues are within normal limits. Unchecked these can go on to generate further problems.

Teens: Once again an important area due to massive growth spurts and changes to the general structure of their body as puberty takes hold. It is also at this stage that we often see dramatic increases in the duration and intensity of activity.

Common problems during this stage for girls include frontal knee pain, ankle sprains, calf tears and shin splints.

For boys common issues include shoulder instabilities, sprained ankles and knees, tendon attachment inflammation (Osgood-schlatters etc) and shin splints.

During the school term between work, sports and after school events it can be hard to find time to get these niggling injuries or pains checked but it is important that these issues are sorted out SOONER rather than later and that the appropriate treatment and rehab programmes can be started.

For a Free assessment voucher or quick chat to see if your child is appropriate for a full assessment give us a call on 5761860 or email buretaphysio@xtra.co.nz for more information.