The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected us all in many ways. One Great thing, however, is that with gyms closed and many working from home- we have found the time to spend time with our families and refocusing on our own mental, spiritual, and physical health. Many have rededicated time to exercising with equipment at home, outdoor workout stations, running, and cycling. Unfortunately, due to this rise in activity levels by our population, as Doctors of Physical Therapy, we have seen the rise in overuse injuries, especially those of tendons such as the Patellar tendon from running and/or jumping and the achilles tendon in the back of the leg. The reason these tendon injuries happen, have to do with the progressive stress and loading of these tissues- usually too much, too quickly without adequate time for the tissue to adjust to the new activity and to rest/recover.
As Physical Therapist we are here to help with these tendon overuse injuries. Not just by giving you the tools to recover quickly and reducing your pain, but also to educate you on prevention and avoiding overuse injuries in the first place, as well as many avenues to aide in your recovery, including diet!
No we are not Nutritionist or Dietitians, but we do stay up-to-date on the latest research regarding physical injury and implications of diet on the ailments we treat. When it comes to tendon overuse injuries and recovery- one culprit delaying recovery, or even putting you at higher risk of developing injuries could be your diet! Specifically a diet high in Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These compounds are found in higher levels in red meats, certain cheeses, fried eggs, cream cheese, butter, mayo, and nuts. Animal fats that we cook at higher temperatures such as with grilling and frying will also produce more AGEs.
AGEs accumulate in our body and cause oxidative stress and inflammation and have been strongly linked to poor tendon health in excess. Our body, if healthy, is able to clear these metabolites out of our system if not present in excess.This is great information to have when recovering from a tendon injury, while complete restriction of this food group may not be the answer, it is useful to know that moderation is key and that avoiding excessive amounts of these foods can aide in your recovery in conjecture with your home treatment activity as well as Physical Therapy!