Tendonitis is simply a grumpy or grumbling tendon. A tendon becomes inflamed, gets disorganised collagen fibers, gets an increase in nerve and blood vessels, becomes thick and painful. I like to say you have a grumpy tendon. Much simpler.

This happens because you exceeded its load capacity. Ie it could handle a certain amount of workload and you went past that. Now it’s a little sore, swollen and inflamed. Tendons don’t like rapid change. You need to creep up on them slowly.

Use the 10% rule. Don’t increase mileage, incline or pace by more than 10% per week. Some studies have suggested if you exceed the 10% rule your risk of injury will increase by 250-300%. Other studies have suggested that 80% of all injuries are due to training error. That might surprise some of you who thought it was your leg length, foot pronation or weak glutes. Nope, it was just plain old, boring training load.


It will take a while (6-12 months in some cases). We have to be graded in response. To truly be graded we must give you more load, test, and monitor, then go again. This process itself can take months.

You will get to a relatively (1-2/10 pain) pain-free state but your treatment won’t finish there. Too often people get to this point and then return to large jumps in activity or what they were doing 3-months ago, this is a sure way to make the whole process last even longer.

Ask yourself

Did I increase my load 10% at a time to get to that 10K run or was I just pain-free at 5k. Include that line of questioning not only for distance but also speed and elevation.

Have I loaded my tendon up with plyometric (jumping or leaping work) or am I going back to that CrossFit or F45 class without really knowing what it can handle?

Following your physio’s graded plan all the way back up to your required load capacity is the key to treating tendonitis. Take your time. Listen to their advice. Drop them a call or and e-mail if you aren’t sure. That 5 minutes could save you 3 months.
As always, book in online at one of our clinics at Panania, Miranda or Rozelle if you are getting a bit stuck with tendonitis.