Tendinopathy, Steroid Use And Treatment

24th January 2020 2 min read

Paul Bailey MSc – PGCE – IPTI

During 20 years of clinical practice I have treated an array of sports related injuries. One of the most problematic being chronic tendon pain. A tendon is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone.

Tendons have the ability to transmit vast amounts of muscular force, and to store energy. Not all tendons have the same function. Some are associated with body movement whilst others help to position and stabilise our limbs. Sadly, tendon like any other soft tissue, is prone to injury. One of the most common types being Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI. This is why so many weight-lifters develop tendon type conditions. The lifting of weights is a repetitive activity that aims to induce muscular growth through its ability to adapt to stress. Improving our lean muscle mass is a good thing. However, it must be undertaken in a controlled manner. Muscle tissue in comparison to the tendon appears to adapt more quickly to stresses being placed upon it. It is this that can lead to tendon strain and in some instances rupture.

It is common knowledge that appropriate training, nutrition and sleep will lead to an increase in muscle size. However, those who use and abuse anabolic/androgenic steroids seek to accelerate such growth. Steroids work by interacting with a cells DNA resulting in the stimulation of protein synthesis and in turn cell growth. Steroid use, typically involves the intake of both tablets and injectables. Some may also take additional medication to combat any potential side effects like acne, blood pressure, enlargement of male breast tissue, lack of libido and mood swings.

Common areas affected by tendon dysfunction include, base of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and the Achilles. If you’re a devoted weight trainer whose progress, is being hindered by pain, stiffness, tingling and or numbness it would be wise to seek therapeutic intervention as soon as possible so that the condition does not become chronic and long-term.

Treatment of tendinopathy typically includes:

• Eccentric strengthening exercise

• Ultrasound

• Phonophoresis

• Laser

• Massage

• Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)

Paul Bailey is a certified sport and remedial therapist who specialises in the treatment of soft tissue injury and dysfunction. I can also provide Personal Trainer Courses in Manchester allowing you to coach those with similar issues. Please get in touch to book a course or for further information.