What is the importance of collagen in the tendons?
First of all, a tendon is a band of fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons provide an essential support in joint movement. The multiple functions of tendons include attaching muscles to bones, joining and stabilizing skeletal joints, and transmitting muscular force to bone to complete movement. Tendons also allow muscles to be at an optimal distance from the joint.
Tendons are composed of more than 90% of collagen!
Fibrous connective tissues composing the tendons are made of more than 90% collagen. The ends of tendons, which are the most solid parts, are composed almost exclusively of collagen, up to 99%. Our tendons’ properties and functions are directly related to the architecture and quality of the collagen fibres.
Collagen contributes to keep the structure and strength of tendons.
Therefore, tendons, together with muscles and bones, form a unique team that constantly works in synergy. Without tendons, we would be able to complete any move. The collagen decrease when aging weakens the area where tendons are attached to the bone. This creates a more fragile area and frequently causes several injuries. For example, a common problem known as tendinitis or tendinosis is frequently associated to a lack of collagen. These affections notably affect those who perform repetitive tasks in their jobs, sports or daily activities.
Tendinitis, tendinosis… what are the difference?
Most of the time, often wrongly, tendinitis has frequently been considered as the cause of tendon pain and loss of force and movement. However, both tendinitis and tendonitis are different.
Tendinitis : It is an inflammation of the tendons.
Tendinosis : It is the degeneration of the tendons. It is caused by a collagen disorder in the tissue of tendons and does not involve infiltration of immune cells (inflammation).
The difference in both affections will bmake a difference in the treatment of the problems.
Bursitis, also an affection related to tendons.
Another example of a disease related to tendons is bursitis. Bursitis is the swelling of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows muscles to glide easily over other muscles as well as bones. When you hurt a joint or tendon or use it excessively, the bursa may swell, causing pain, redness and a burning sensation.
The regions most commonly affected by bursitis are the shoulders, elbows and hips. People who suffer from this affection will feel pain, tenderness and stiffness near the affected area. Consequently, certain muscles weaken because the person avoids painful movements such as climbing stairs.
How to relieve pain due to tendons affections
Whether one suffers from tendinitis, tendinosis or bursitis, applying ice over the painful areas and letting the painful joint rest can successfully relieve discomfort. For chronic conditions or over the long-term, physiotherapy proves to be an important option. Anti-inflammatory drugs are indicated only after a diagnosis of tendinitis has been confirmed (infiltration of immune cells).
A collagen supplement such as Genacol® can also represent an interesting nutritional support to maintain the fibrous connective tissues of the tendons in good shape and protect against degeneration. We remind you that tendons are made of more than 90% of collagen. Genacol products consist mainly of providing essential elements to support the body in its process of natural production of collagen. By giving your body a collagen supplement, you will be able to slow down the tendons breakdown and possibly also enable faster recovery when tendons are weakened by an affection.
To discover all the benefits of collagen on your body, we invite you to read this article.