Time to Read
Points of Interest
What are tendons and what do they do?
Common problems in runners
How to treat tendon problems
Proper runners warm-up
Injury prevention exercises
- Infrared sportswear and socks
Many runners suffer from tendon injuries, built up over years from pounding treadmills, pavements, tracks and trails.
Whilst not a certainty of a runner's career, injury is often an unwanted addition to lot of runners list of worries and niggling problems.
Let KYMIRA Sport support your running and recovery with some healthy advice and a good dose of infrared!
In this article we're going to look at preventing and treating tendon injuries in runners, helping to keep you performing at your maximum and staying injury-free.
Tendons – What Are They and What do they do?
Tendons are the dense, collagenous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. They have a series of unique physiological and mechanical properties that when harnessed effectively can significantly improve running performance.
Healthy, elastic and strong tendons are more able to resist the tensile forces generated in running than unhealthy tendons. In addition, they are able to transmit force back to the bones by way of elastic recoil.
This cyclical lengthening and shortening of the tendon tissue contributes significantly to forward propulsion, energy generation and shock absorption, making running technique smoother, more efficient and significantly less damaging to the athlete.
Tendon Pathologies Common in Runners
Thanks to the large mechanical loads they deal with, tendons are subject to significant amount of strain in runners. This, coupled with a relatively poor blood supply means they are often the site of debilitating injury that takes a long time to heal and in many cases requires surgery.
Tendinothapy is an umbrella term that is used to describe generalised tendon complaints.
Further investigation will usually then lead to a more accurate description of the problem. In most cases with runners it's likely to be tendinosis or tendinitis.
To explain the differences between the two, I've used a description from this article…
"Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendon and results from micro-tears that happen when the musculotendinous unit is acutely overloaded with a tensile force that is too heavy and/or too sudden."
Tendinosis is a degeneration of the tendon's collagen in response to chronic overuse; when overuse is continued without giving the tendon time to heal and rest, such as with repetitive strain injury, tendinosis results.
The most common sites of tendinopathies in runners are the Achilles tendon, quadriceps tendon and the patella tendon.
As you'd expect, these are all synonymous with the knee and ankle joints that perform most of the movement and absorb most of the impact in runners.
Treatment Options for Tendinopathies
It would be wrong of me to advise on injuries over the internet, so it's important that you have any injuries checked out in-person by a suitably qualified practitioner.
That being said, there are steps you can take to address tendinopathy in the immediate time after the injury occurs…
- Rest the injury from the start.
- Limit movement to gentle use and stretching – don't train through pain.
- Apply ice quickly and regularly.
- Wear a support around the area.
Once you have an accurate diagnosis from a qualified professional, you can begin working through an appropriate rehabilitation programme. This will usually include changing your technique, strengthening the tendons and altering your nutrition approaches, possibly increasing supplementation.
Kymira Sport's infrared socks can also help by accelerating recovery where the fabric contacts your skin so an investment in infrared ankle, or longer compression socks may be beneficial to your recovery.
Training To Improve Tendon Health
Rehabilitation of tendons usually has eccentric loading exercises at its core – this approach (stretching a tendon under load) is shown to be an effective form of tendon rehab in a wide range of studies. The exact mechanism for why this is still remains a mystery, with the best guesses assuming it's down to replicating the mechanics of the tendon during use.
The eccentric loading exercises alone are only partially effective at improving tendon health and function – to significantly improve tendon health eccentric exercises have to be supported by a practical stretching and nutritional approach, both of which have been shown to help support connective tissue function.
Pre-exercise Warm Up
Warming up the area about to be resistance-trained is important.
A specific warm up designed to improve localised blood flow of the area (static cycling for example) will be effective.
Mobility exercises such as body weight squats, lunges and calf raises will also help to improve mobility and flexibility in the area ahead of the resistance-based exercises during which the tendons will be loaded with a significant weight for an extended period of time.
Once the area is warmed up, it's a good idea for runners to use eccentric exercises for strengthening the tendons.
This workout below will cover the basics. Perform 3 sets of 15, for each exercise.
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Eccentric Calf Raises
Eccentric Leg Extension
Couple this with a thorough stretching session in which you stretch the calves, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors in particular.
KYMIRA Clothing and Injury Prevention
A key feature of our running range is the improvement of blood flow and cellular repair – these are imperative for both improving the condition of existing injuries and helping to prevent new ones.
With the KYMIRA technology on your side, you're less likely to be injured in the first place and are more likely to return from an existing injury more quickly.