From Pain to Gain: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Tendinopathy Effectively

From Pain to Gain: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Tendinopathy Effectively

If you've been part of the Unity Gym tribe, you know that tendinopathy is a common concern, especially among those who engage in calisthenics and weight training. 

From golfer's elbow to tennis elbow, these conditions are persistent reminders of how integral load management is in our fitness journey. 

This understanding springs from our personal experiences and professional insights, as shared in a recent episode of the Sound Of Movement - The Unity Gym Podcast.

When it comes to tendinopathy, there's no quick fix, no silver bullet. As paradoxical as it may seem, the exercises that can induce tendinopathy are also the ones that can help in its rehabilitation. 

Phil's story is a classic example. 

To understand tendinopathy firsthand, he intentionally overloaded his elbow with supinated grip pull-ups and repetitive wrist flexion exercises until he experienced significant discomfort. 

The idea was not self-harm, but to underscore how crucial correct load dosage is.

Recovering from tendinopathy isn't a walk in the park. It's challenging to balance rehab with the desire to keep training and reaching fitness goals. But the reality is this - dealing with an injury while trying to train hard is a delicate balancing act. 

The decisions we make should be driven by what's best for our bodies, not merely by what feels satisfying.

For instance, when Yani replaced his rest days with golf, his body couldn't cope with the additional load. Despite controlled gym training, excessive golf activities led to a severe case of golfer's elbow. It was a clear case of load mismanagement, with no room for recovery, demonstrating how critical rest days are in maintaining our fitness and health.

Before we delve deeper into managing tendinopathy, it's important to distinguish it from other conditions. 

Tendinopathy is a load-dependent condition concerning the tendon, which attaches a muscle to a bone. The tendon is exposed to different types of load - strength, stretch, compressive, and spring-like, which are integral in various physical activities.

In the case of golfer's elbow, the spring-like load becomes an aggravating factor when hitting a golf ball. Initially, the body tries to adapt to the abusive load by quickly laying down tissue. However, if the pace is too fast, the structural integrity of the tissue is compromised.

Resting may seem like the intuitive response, but it can be counterproductive. 

The body, thrifty as it is, might start taking away tissue if it senses a lack of activity. At the same time, doing too much can cause an overflow of the 'bucket', metaphorically speaking.

Thus, the challenge lies in finding the sweet spot of load management. The answer doesn't lie in a magical medical treatment or an exotic exercise but in correct dosage. By understanding our body's capacity and modulating our load, we can effectively manage tendinopathy while pursuing our fitness goals.

To recap, dealing with tendinopathy isn't solely about mitigating symptoms but about addressing the root cause - our approach to load management. 

So, let's keep training, but with informed decisions and balanced load management, transforming our fitness journey from a series of hurdles to a path of triumph.

You can listen to the full podcast episode here.

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