- Pain with activity
- Localised tenderness over the tendon
- Reduced strength in the affected area
- Reduced movement in the affected area
- Mild swelling or thickening of the tendon
Common tendons affected
Any tendon may become affected. Some of the most common are:
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
This affects the tendons that are used to straighten (extend) your thumb. The typical symptom is pain over your wrist at the base of your thumb.
This most commonly affects your ring finger. The condition prevents your finger from straightening fully.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis).
In this condition, you have pain on the outer side of your elbow. It is usually due to overuse of your forearm muscles.
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis).
This is similar to tennis elbow but the pain is felt on the inner side of your elbow.
This affects the large tendon just behind and above the heel.
Rotator cuff tendinopathy.
Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that help to stabilise, lift and rotate your shoulder. They can be painful when you are reaching our arm straight out to the side or with lying on your shoulder.
This affects the tendon just below your knee cap. It is typically painful following jumping or squatting activities.
Do I need an X-Ray / MRI?
Most commonly a tendinopathy of tenosynovitis is diagnosed without a scan. An x-ray or MRI may sometimes be recommended by your healthcare professional if you are not improving or your presentation is not typical.
Acute (1-5 Days) management
- Reduce or avoid the activity that is aggravating your pain to reduce the load on the tendon.
- Wear appropriate footwear if it is a lower limb tendon.
- Apply ice wrapped in a cold compress for 10-15 minutes to the affected tendon every two to three hours.
The majority of tendinopathy or tenosynovitis pain won’t resolve by themselves. The tendon typically requires progressive loading over a 12-14 week period to heal.
Not to be missed: If you suspect a tendon rupture please attend your local Accident and Emergency Department as prompt treatment is essential to ensure full recovery of function.
- Hearing a popping sound.
- Severe pain.
- Inability to use the affected arm or leg.
- Inability to move the area involved.
- Marked weakness.
- Inability to bear weight.
- Deformity of the area.
Why attend physiotherapy
If your tendon pain is worsening or not improving on return to activity after initial rest period, it is important to seek professional help from a Chartered Physiotherapist. A Chartered Physiotherapist with complete a comprehensive assessment of the risk factors likely contributing and provide an evidence-based treatment plan specific to your needs.
What is a Chartered Physiotherapist?
A Chartered Physiotherapist is a university graduate with hospital-based training who has comprehensive knowledge of how the body works, along with specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of muscle and joint pain. As chartered physiotherapists undergo a medical based degree, they are competent in detecting serious illness in the early stages and in identifying when further investigations are necessary. When you choose a physiotherapist who is a member of the Irish Society of Chartered physiotherapists (ISCP), you’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that they are a part of Ireland’s only professional body within its field.
It is your guarantee that they have been trained to the highest academic and professional standards – and also that they continue to keep abreast of emerging trends and developments through a programme of Continuous Professional Development.
The Society is the only association in Ireland recognised by the World Confederation of Physical Therapy. It provides a strong, unified voice for the profession, and regularly speaks out on issues involving the role and responsibilities of physiotherapists – either within private practice or as part of the national health system.
Choosing a Chartered Physiotherapist assures you that your chosen practitioner is fully committed to upholding the highest standards of medical and ethical standards.
How can I access a physiotherapist?
If you’re in need of physiotherapy treatment while you are in hospital, the physiotherapist will typically be made aware that you need physiotherapy and come and see you on the ward or treat you in a dedicated Physiotherapy Department. If you are not in hospital you may be referred to a Chartered Physiotherapist by your G.P. or hospital consultant, but you can also make an appointment for yourself if you believe you are suffering from a condition that requires the intervention of a Physiotherapist.
When choosing a physiotherapist it is important to make sure that they are Chartered (they will have MISCP after their name). Chartered Physiotherapists are autonomous practitioners, which means that you can directly access their services and refer yourself for treatment, however to access treatment within the public system you will usually require a doctor’s referral. You can use our Find a Physio directory on our website to find a chartered physiotherapist working in private practice in your locality.
Occupational Health Schemes
Some employers run occupational health schemes for their employees that may include physiotherapy. Check with your human resources or personnel department to see if you are eligible. Larger organisations often have an in-house physio while smaller businesses may use the services of a local physiotherapy service. There is good evidence that occupational physiotherapy is cost-effective for large and small businesses. If you are an employer or manager, find out more about how physiotherapy can help:
- Reduce sickness absence
- Offer additional business benefits
What are the different types of physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is more than just musculoskeletal support. Physiotherapists extend their care to chronic health impacts, like heart disease and diabetes, and lesser-known pelvic floor issues. They’re experts in helping to reduce the alarmingly common health and safety issues associated with working in labour intensive industries, preventing injury as well as getting people back to work quickly and safely. Here are some of the different areas of physiotherapy:
- acupuncture and dry needling
- cancer, palliative care and lymphoedema
- emergency department
- mental health
- occupational health
- physiotherapy for animals, often working with vets
- women’s, men’s and pelvic health
What sort of treatment do physiotherapists use?
Physiotherapists are trained to assess your condition, diagnose the problem, and help you understand what’s wrong. Your treatment plan will take into account your lifestyle, activities and general health. The following are common treatment methods use by physiotherapists:
- exercise programs to improve mobility and strengthen muscles
- joint manipulation and mobilisation to reduce pain and stiffness
- muscle re-education to improve control
- airway clearance techniques and breathing exercises
- soft tissue mobilisation (massage)
- acupuncture and dry needling
- assistance with use of aids, splints, crutches, walking sticks and wheelchairs to help you move around.
What to expect at your first physiotherapy appointment?
If you are visiting a chartered physiotherapist for the first time, you may expect:
- To provide information regarding your past and present medical history
- To have an assessment of your posture and how you move
- To get to the root cause of your pain/injury
- To receive hands-on or manual therapy
- To wear comfortable clothing for ease of examination and movement
- To be given an individually designed Home Exercise Programme
- To be given advice re sport, lifestyle, posture, ergonomics etc.
- To have a range of techniques used to optimise your individual treatment plan
- To be treated respectfully and safely
How to find a chartered physiotherapist?
You can use our Find a Physio directory of Chartered Physiotherapists to find a physiotherapist working in private practice in your locality. You can also use it to check if your physiotherapist is Chartered. All the Physiotherapists in this directory are current members of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP). This is the only association in Ireland recognised by the World Confederation of Physical Therapy. If you need to access a Chartered Physiotherapist in Northern Ireland visit Physio First
Do I need a referral?
Chartered Physiotherapists are autonomous practitioners, which means that you can directly access their services and refer yourself for treatment. However to access treatment within the public system you will usually require a doctor’s referral.
Will my insurance cover private physiotherapy treatment?
All major Health Insurance providers (VHI, Aviva, Irish Life, Laya etc) provide cover for treatment provided by a private Chartered Physiotherapist. The level of cover will vary in accordance with your individual health insurance plan. Check your policy information to find out what is included in your cover.
You may also be eligible to claim tax relief for your physiotherapy treatments using the Med 1 form (Note: Prior G.P. referral may be required)