Isometric & Eccentric Loading
Information about isometric and eccentric loading of muscles and tendons could arguably be folded into our page on graded strength and conditioning, however, we have included this separate post as it provides an opportunity to discuss isometric and eccentric loading with the context of treatment for tendon problems such as tendinopathies (more commonly known as tendinitis).
An isometric muscle contraction is the term used to describe what is happening in a muscle if it is under load but is not lengthening or shortening. If you were to hold your arm straight out to your side, your shoulder muscles would doing an isometric contraction. An eccentric muscle contraction is the term used to describe what i happening in a muscle when you lower a weight to the floor. So if you were to lower your arm from an over head position, your shoulder muscles would be doing an eccentric contraction.
We have good research that shows that Isometric and eccentric contractions help people rehabilitate from pain associated with tendon injuries. Unfortunately, the mechanisms by which this occurs are still poorly understood. Regardless, researchers have been able to piece together some treatment protocols that are very useful in the clinical setting. As is the case with all exercise rehabilitation, the principle of graded exposure to load is important. In addition to graded exposure to load parameters (intensity, frequency, duration) tendon rehabilitation also needs to consider the angles at which the tendon is exposed to load. Tendon tissue adapts positively to longitudinal load (like pulling on a rope), but can be injured by a transverse load (like someone stepping on a rope). For this reason, it is important that any rehabilitation program for your tendon pain or injury is carefully planned to minimise unnecessary transverse loading of tendon.
An in depth understanding of anatomy and biomechanics helps us to formulate an exercise plan that will be most beneficial for your tendon pain or condition. For more information, give us a call on 0296659667.