A tendon is a band of connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons differ from ligaments which connect two bones and facia that connects two muscles together.
Tendons don’t simply act as connectors, they actually function as springs. Which means they store and recover energy very efficiently allowing the muscles to generate greater force than would otherwise be possible.
In general tendons suffer from two types of injury; overuse syndromes which often result in inflammation, degeneration and/or weakening of the tendon, and traumatic injury, where a single event causes the tendon to rupture.
Tendons are able to heal and recover from an injury, but it is important to remember that once damaged a tendon will never be the same as it was before.
There are three main stages of tendon healing:
In the first stage inflammatory cells are recruited to the site of the injury, Collagen is then synthesised . This stage usually lasts a few days.
The repair stage lasts approximately six weeks and this is when most the collagen is synthesised.
Between six to ten weeks after the injury the tissue starts to become more fibrous and with proper exercise and stretching the fibres become aligned. It then takes up to a year for the fibres to fully mature.