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can you strengthen ligaments and tendons?(8 posts)

can you strengthen ligaments and tendons?ishmael
Sep 29, 2002 2:31 PM
According to Carmicel lots of "base miles" will increase there strength. Is this true? Is there anything else that can work?

Every fall and winter my left knee ends up sore in the front and back. I'm pretty sure the back is tendonitis, it'll ache if I ride too much and too hard, ibuprofin works on it and it goes back to normal soon. The front has a popping thing that happends when bent to a 90 degree angle so I'm pretty sure something has ripped, but it still works fine it just aches a bit below the cap. Is this tendonitis? What do you recommend? Do you know what your talking about?
re: can you strengthen ligaments and tendons?mtbiac
Sep 29, 2002 2:38 PM
dont quote me on this, but since I just had ACL/meniscus/tendon surgery I know a bit about knee stuff...

It is probably tendonitis. The patellar tendon also holds your patella (kneecap) in place. IF this becomes weak/torn and aches, it may not be strong enough to hold your kneecap in place which is what that "popping" noise is. I have this problem currently due to this surgery I just had. My quad/patellar tendon is really weak from not being used in over a month and it pops all the time now... Strengthening it should help.

You should probably consult your Doctor on this though...or post on a knee messageboard of somekind...?

good luck,
See a doc.fbg111
Sep 29, 2002 2:47 PM
If you think something has ripped, continuing to work it could injure it worse. It may be reparable as it is, but permanent damage could result if you push it.

As for whether you can strengthen such parts, in my experience it is possible in some cases, not in others. For example, in high school soccer I dislocated my left knee when someone clipped me from the side. I escaped surgery by going on a physical therapy program to specifically strengthen the tendon, ligaments, and muscle on the inside of my knee. When those parts are strong, my knee is ok, when they're not, I risk re-injury. I can actually feel the difference when they're weak and when they're strong.

Additionally, I spent this spring and summer getting back into distance running after three years off. I had painful shin splints for the first six months of my training. Shin splints are caused by weakness in the tendons that connect your front shin muscle to the bone. The pain is a symptom of the tendon being pulled partially off the bone. But work on it long enough, and as long as you don't overdo it, the tendon will strengthen its connection to the bone and the shin splints will go away. After six months of moderate training, mine vanished and I'm running fine now. That's what an orthopedic surgeon I saw last March advised me, and he was right.

So tendons can be strengthened with work, but probably not in every case, and maybe not in yours. So my advice is to see an orthopedic doctor (preferably one who bikes or runs and whose knowledge isn't just academic) about it. Especially if you think something has torn or ripped.
re: can you strengthen ligaments and tendons?The Human G-Nome
Sep 29, 2002 4:23 PM
my chiropractor recommends lots of omega fatty acids. this isn't a solution of course, but it could help a little long term.
Sep 29, 2002 5:39 PM
I don't know about ligaments, but you can definitely strengthen tendons. The problem is you have to do it slowly, much more slowly than a muscle. If you don't, they will inflame (tendonitis) or tear. This is part of the reason you want to increase mileage as well as intensity slowly. No studies to prove this but in my experience, the older you get the more you want to take it easy ramping up duration and intensity.
what do you do for tendonitis?ishmael
Sep 29, 2002 7:07 PM
I've been warming up slightly then doing a couple exercises(not sure which are best) then after riding I streach and ice it for 10 minutes a side. I've decreased my intensity and duration too.
Weight training will increase muscle size and also thickenOld_school_nik
Sep 30, 2002 6:57 AM
connective tissue and tendons - but as the other poster's say - that may not be the problem - certainly warmn-up a great deal before hammering and keep your knees covered in cold weather and make sure they stay warm during your rides - its not just comfort - the fluid in your joints works better when you are warm too.

Other than that see what a good sports physical therapist has to say IMHO.

Good luck,

what do you do for tendonitis?irregardless
Sep 30, 2002 8:45 AM
There are two alternatives. The first is taking it completely easy until the inflamation completely subsides and does not recur upon further exercise. Athletes never want to do this in the middle of the season (ruins season, requires full slow ramp up again, etc.), but it may be the best in the long run. The second is to rest and ice the tendon between workouts. This is more of a bandaid type of treatment because the tendon is still inflamed between and during workouts. It may also lead to a worsening of the condition over time. Ice and anti-inflamatories definitely help under either alternative. One other factor to consider – sometimes tendonitis is accompanied by swelling of the surrounding tissue. This can lead to the development of scar tissue which may actually make the tendon less elastic and more prone to tearing. This scar tissue may need to be broken up my strenuous massage. The best alternative is following the advice of a good physical therapist.