5 FAQs About Tendons

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5 FAQs About Tendons


Working in therapy often means we are continually working with patients who will have an injury to a tendon or in an area that impacts tendon movement. You’ve likely had patients ask you all kinds of questions about their injured tendon or tendons in general. Here are what we have found to be the questions asked most often and how to best answer them in a way that patients will understand - jargon free!

  1. What is a tendon?

We have thousands of tendons and ligaments in our bodies. The tendons are fibers that connect our muscles to bones and are located at each end of a muscle. As you can imagine, they are small but make up an important part of our musculoskeletal system. They are cords that pull the bones to move. For example, a common injury is the rotator cuff on a shoulder. It helps the shoulder rotate. When a tendon is injured, it is not typically because of one major incident, but a series of small tears that occur over frequent use.

  1. Why do I need a splint and not a cast if I had surgery?

A doctor will not always have you wear a cast after surgery. Splints can come in a variety of forms that are sometimes fitted at your therapy session. Splints are better able to be changed to fit your injury as it heals and swelling decreases. They provide less support but are more customizable. 

  1. Will I have to live with the pain forever?

Tendon recovery is not always black and white. It depends on many factors and the extent of the injury. It can depend on the amount of scar tissue and the time spent between the original injury and surgery.  The best chances to eliminate pain and protect the area from getting injured again is therapy. We can help you improve your range of motion and teach you techniques to protect the area. 

  1. Can’t I just get a corticosteroid injection?

There may be times when a doctor suggests that you inject corticosteroids for the pain. However, this is only to provide short term relief and is not optimal for chronic pain or serious injuries. Some studies are showing that they can actually do more harm than good. 

  1. Should I be worried about the bump on my tendon? 

Any time there is a new bump on your body, it should be brought to a doctor’s attention. It doesn’t mean that there is cause to worry, but it is better to have it checked out to see if there is anything you should do about it. More often than not, bumps that appear along tendons are ganglion cysts. These are filled with a jelly-like substance and are sometimes very painful. They are usually brought on by an injury to the tendon. They can be drained by a doctor or may go away on their own. 

We hope these simple responses can help you with your next patient that has a tendon injury. For more information to help you make a difference with all of your patients, contact NARA today.