In order to move the various parts of our bodies, we use muscles. But what is not so worldwide known, is the fact that bones have a very important part too. The bones keep the structure and the resistance of the body, this is why they are called the passive system, and the muscles are responsible for movement and flexibility, they are called the active system. But what is the most important is the tissue that links muscles to bones. This tissue is called a tendon, or sinew, and it is rather fibrous. It connects a muscle to a bone and has the capability to withstand tension. But like any other part of the human body, it has its own tendon diseases. The tendon diseases are very often breaks. These breaks can be healed, but it takes a lot of time.
The healing process for tendon diseases is a very long one. The tendons have the capability to regenerate by themselves, but it is a very long process and a very painful one too. If an injured patient does not receive medical attention in the first two days since the accident, he will suffer from severe pain, a large swelling of the area where the severed tendon is located and a so called on fire feeling where the injury occurred. It has been proven recently that tendons assimilate and synthesize ECM components, thus regenerating by themselves after injuries (even if the tendon diseases need full recovery – the tendon was fully severed) but they will never have the same mechanical properties as they had prior to the injury.
Any of the tendon diseases has three main phases (also called stages) of healing. These three stages of tendon healing are inflammation (the damaged tendon gets swollen very much and the pain occurs) when the pain is almost unbearable, the repair or proliferation (several chemical compounds are released in the body and start their actions on the severed area) also during the repair the pain persists, and the last phase called remodeling (this phase can be divided in two other phases – consolidation and maturation). The last two periods last longer because they have a defining character.
After a tendon is fully repaired after a disease, the treatment will still continue. Due to the fact that the tendon was severed, the affected area will not regain its entire mechanical properties so the patient will have to take recovery exercises for a period of time. These recovery exercises make the patient work out the newly recovered area, thus forcing somehow the tendon to regain its strength and flexibility. Just like in damaged muscles cases, the tendon needs to be worked out so it will regain a great part of its properties. These exercises are made only under professional guidance and in special designed places. Good places for recovery are swimming pools, because the water has a healing effect and it doesn’t stress out the tendon. Another good place for exercises is the gym, where a patient can get guidance from a therapist and use small weights to recover its strength.