Tendinitis versus Tendinosis - What's The Difference?

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Posted by john under Health


Tendons connect your muscles to your bones and there are dozens of them in your lower legs and feet which can potentially cause pain if they’re pulled or damaged.

Diagnosing the exact cause of the problem is key to figuring out how to fix it.

Tendinitis and Tendinosis may feel exactly the same but the correct treatment is very different. So here’s a simple explanation about how they differ, and what you can do to literally get back on your feet.

What’s in a name?

Medical words that end with ‘itis’ mean inflammation.

Tendinitis is:

  • little tears in the tendon resulting from overload
  • caused by a heavy or sudden force pulling on the tendon
  • an acute injury
  • going to cause swelling and pain

Medical words that end with ‘osis’ mean an altered form or abnormal state.

Tendinosis is:

  • a degeneration of collagen fibres in your tendon
  • the result of chronic overuse from repetitive motions like running, standing, jumping
  • likely to occur over a period of months
  • not going to cause inflammation (but will be painful)

How long will it take to recover?

Generally speaking, tendinitis will take 4-6 weeks to settle down. Tendinosis will take much longer – about 3 to 6 months to heal.

What treatment do I need?

A podiatrist should always be your first port of call. They can make the correct diagnosis and form a treatment plan specific to your injury.

The goal with tendinitis is to reduce the inflammation. You can do this with ice and anti-inflammatories like Voltaren and Nurofen gels.

Deep tissue massage to create friction will also help, and sports tape is a good idea to help support the affected area. But be warned! Leave taping to the experts – otherwise you’ll risk making the injury worse if you don’t understand the complex structure of the foot.

You should also reduce your physical activity and give your tendon time to heal properly.

To fix tendinosis you’ll also need to rest but for a much longer period of time.

Deep tissue massage is also a great idea – although the method will be different as it’s designed to kick start collagen production and help reverse the damage done.

Long-term you’ll need to change the way you stand, walk, run or jump to reduce the stress on that part of your foot. Your podiatrist might recommend orthotics and will help you build your strength and endurance by giving you specific exercises to do at home.

These ‘eccentric exercises’ will help increase your collagen production as well as stretch and lengthen your muscles and tendons.

Same pain, different problem

As you can see, tendinitis and tendinosis are caused by two very different things.

Sore tendons in your feet can be very painful.JPG

Why All Podiatrists Aren't Equal

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Posted by john under Health

So you need to see a podiatrist… but how do you know which one to pick?

Obviously you want to see the best person in your area but a quick scroll through the yellow pages won’t give you any clue about who that might be.

We can’t speak for our competitors but there are a two key reasons why Foot Mechanics is the biggest podiatry group in New Zealand – expertise and technology.

We employ over a dozen qualified podiatrists in 10 clinics across the North Island and our training programme is what we think makes us the best in the business.

Learning from world-class experts

All podiatrists spend at least three years studying at university but many of our clinicians have honours or masters degrees, or post-graduate diplomas in things like sports medicine or rehabilitation.

And because of our size, Foot Mechanics is able to bring exceptional speakers to New Zealand at least twice a year to exclusively train our staff.

In March Simon Bartold (the lead researcher at Asics footwear for 25 years) spent two days mentoring our podiatrists and talking about bio-mechanical assessments, heel pain and the latest shoe technology for injury prevention.

Other podiatrists will occasionally travel to overseas conferences to hear such speakers but won’t have regular one-on-one access to professional development like we do.

Top technology

When you visit Foot Mechanics you will have access to technology you won’t find in most other podiatry clinics.

*Video analysis – you’ve probably seen these video cameras in shoe stores before. But like anything, you really have to know how to use this tool to get the best out of it. Our podiatrists will professionally interpret and analyse the way you walk or run to get to the bottom of whatever your issue is.

*Force mat – our ‘RS scan’ technology is imported directly from Belgium and shows our podiatrists how your body weight transfers through your foot when you move. Injuries are often the result of force but it’s not something you can see without this clever piece of kit.

*Pinpoint foot laser – we’re the only podiatry clinic in New Zealand lucky enough to have these lasers. They are used to safely treat fungal toenail infections without the need for oral medication that can have nasty side-effects.

So these are just some of the reasons why Foot Mechanics is a good place to start when looking for a podiatrist.

To make an appointment in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo or Palmerston North, just phone 0800 436 6860800 436 686.


The hardest 400m run ever

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Posted by john under News and Events

Red Bull - the hardest 400m run in Europe!

How good runners keep their feet happy

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Posted by john under Health

With each stride while running we generate at least 3 times our bodyweight in forces going through our feet.  Yet often it’s not until a runner has a foot or leg problem that any attention is paid to the feet.

I have treated 1000’s of runners in my career as a Podiatrist and have given the following advice to many runners who needed it to keep their feet happy.


Our bodies get stronger as we continue to exercise, but this does take time.  Bones remodel continuously depending on the stresses but on them and muscles and tendons strengthen as we use them.

The key is not to do “too much, too soon”.  Allow your body time to respond to the forces that running puts on bone, muscle of tendon.  Often injuries I see are simply a result of putting more stress on musculoskeletal structures before they’ve had time to strengthen.

Build rest into your schedule of running knowing that while you’re not running your body is still working away making your stronger!

To learn more or find out about a running coach try Boost here.


If there is a more crucial element to happy feet while running than footwear, I don’t know it!  Footwear is the interface between you and the surface you’re running on, footwear changes forces and promotes a feeling of comfort for your feet.

Footwear technology has come a long way during my 15 year career.  You really need to assistance of a specialty sports shoe store to help you get the right shoes now.  We work a lot with Smiths Sports Shoes, Shoe Clinic, Athletes Foot, and Shoe Science and in the regional areas of New Zealand Sports World stores. Most of the time these retailers receive excellent training on selecting, and fitting shoes. 

However in retail there will always be the forces of marketing and supplying to consumer wants which can be a problem (most recently the minimalist running shoe craze).  Podiatrists such as Foot Mechanics Podiatry often provide a Podiatrist free of charge into these specialty retailers each week to enable runners to have their footwear recommended by an independent third party.  Here’s a list of locations where you can get this independent third party advice in-store.

Recently I have also seen runners bring their shoes into our clinics and pay for a consultation just to have their new shoes approved by the Podiatrist within the return/replace timeframe offered by the shoe retailer.   

Cross training

We all know the song “the knee bone’s connected to the, hip bone.  The hip bone’s connected to the …”.  Well it turns out this is not just a popular song for kids, its actually science and when one part of your body moves it has an impact on other parts.

Keeping your posture good will help recruit the right muscles in your feet at the right times to keep your feet happy and you injury free. 

Mix up your running with other activities such as Pilates for core strength and Yoga for balance and flexibility.  Hit the gym to build muscle strength and take a swim to work on your cardiovascular system while not putting any strain on your feet.

Foot care

The two most common problems I see with runners in terms of foot care are blisters and toe nail damage.

Blisters are due to poor understanding and/or consideration of skin.  Maintaining good skin condition is essential to avoiding blisters.  For example the formation of hard skin (callus) around the heels or ball of the foot leads to blisters are the softer skin under the callus moves under the hard skin.  Hard skin should be reduced regularly to prevent this from happening.

There are other causes for blisters and there is a great resource available about the other causes and how to prevent and treat them here

Toe nail damage is usually due to poor shoe (or sock) fit or excessive downhill running.  Shoes which are too short and/or socks which are too short put pressure on the ends of the toe nails.  Micro-trauma to the nail occurs with each stride and quite quickly the nail becomes damaged. 

The damage may look like a bruised nail or a think nail or even an ingrown nail.  All are serious if you want to be able to continue running with happy feet.  If you have any of these it’s time to see a podiatrist to get the toe nails sorted and address the root of the problem too.

happy running feet.jpg

Shin splits: What to do when changing your shoes hasn’t worked

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Posted by john under Health

Pain in your shins can really put you off doing exercise.

If it hurts to run, walk or jump, or if your shins are painful to touch afterwards, then people usually blame the problem on ‘shin splints’.

But what is a shin splint, and how can you fix it?

There are 3 common causes:

  • Overstrained tendon – pain often occurs when you’re first warming up or cooling down.
  • Overused muscle – if there’s not enough room between your leg muscles and the sheath that surrounds them, blood and oxygen can’t get through which can cause pain.
  • Fractured bone – this occurs when your leg muscles are contracting so hard they actually fracture your shin bone.

Correctly diagnosing what’s causing your shin splints is the key to treating them. So pay attention to when pain occurs – before, during or after exercise?

That will help pinpoint the problem.

I’ve bought new shoes… why hasn’t it helped?

Buying good quality shoes is a great first step. But new shoes often won’t fix the underlying cause.

It’s like taking Panadol when you have a headache – if pain persists, you need to see a podiatrist!

What will a podiatrist do?

A biomechanical assessment will analyze what’s going on:

  • Physical mechanics – Is your stride too big? Is the way you stand, walk or run overloading your leg? Do you have a leg length discrepancy?
  • Environment – What surface are you running on? How much training are you doing? What is your level of fitness? Have you done too much exercise too quickly?
  • Skeletal structure – Do you need to stretch your soft tissues more? Are your muscles strong enough?
  • Foot function – Are you wearing the right footwear? Do you need orthotics to help your feet absorb shock and maintain the right biomechanical position?
  • Onward referral – Do you need to see a physio to help reduce inflammation? Should you see a nutritionist to increase your bone density?

Don’t put up with shin pain

Foot Mechanics podiatrists will figure out exactly what’s causing your shin splints and offer the best advice to treat them.

Exercise is crucial to living a long and healthy life so don’t give up! Phone 0800 436 6860800 436 686 to book an appointment with one of our podiatrists today.

shin pain woman on sand.jpg