Tendons are specialized bundles of collagen fibers, comprised mainly of type I and type III collagen, that forms flexible yet strong cords allowing muscles to move our bones. They act as a bridge between muscle and bone, providing stability and allowing easy movement. Tendons are tightly packed fibrous tissue that is incredibly durable and capable of withstanding incredible amounts of tension without breaking. Tendons are found in almost all body parts from neck to toe, helping us perform everyday tasks such as picking up objects or walking up stairs. Every joint in our body requires its own unique tendon, be it long and sinuous or short and thick – dependent on its function.
The presence of elastin makes them so effective, which allows for recoil-like stretching during any type of motion before returning to its starting point once relaxed. Tendonitis or tenosynovitis is a common condition caused by inflammation or irritation of a tendon due to repetitive strain injury (RSI) or overuse; symptoms include swelling, pain along the tendon path, tenderness, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
Fortunately, tendonitis can usually be successfully managed with rest interspersed with physical therapy or massage. Additionally, consuming foods rich in protein helps maintain healthy tendon structure and function by providing the necessary building blocks for repair. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor or podiatrist for further treatment options, such as anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections.