Why do some injuries take longer to heal than others?

Unfortunately, not all injuries are created equal
Shayne Cleary
August 16, 2023

Some injuries take longer than others to heal…


Unfortunately, not all injuries are created equal.


A perfect example of that are tendon injuries.  These injuries generally take longer to heal compared to other soft tissue injuries like muscle strains or ligament sprains.




Tendons are tough, fibrous bands of connective tissue that connect muscles to bones, and they play a crucial role in transmitting the force generated by muscles to produce movement.


Several factors contribute to the slow healing of tendon injuries:


  • Limited blood supply: Tendons have a relatively poor blood supply compared to muscles, which means they receive fewer nutrients and immune cells necessary for the healing process. This can slow down the repair and regeneration of damaged tendon tissue.


  • Low metabolic rate: Tendons have a lower metabolic rate compared to other tissues, which affects their ability to repair themselves. Metabolic activity is essential for cellular processes involved in healing.


  • Scar tissue formation: When tendons are injured, they often develop scar tissue as part of the healing process.     While scar tissue helps to bind the injured tendon together, it lacks the original strength and elasticity of healthy tendon tissue, leading to a  longer recovery time.


  • Mechanical demands: Tendons are subjected to significant mechanical stresses during movement and physical activities. This constant stress can impede the healing process and increase the risk of reinjury.


  • Inflammatory response: Inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process, but excessive or prolonged inflammation in the tendon can hinder proper healing and lead to chronic tendon issues.



So…what can you do to help the process?


Healing a tendon injury requires a combination of following:

  • Rest
  • Gentle and controlled rehabilitation exercises
  • Often, medical intervention can help significantly like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications
  • In severe cases, you may need surgery


Tendon healing is a delicate process and if not done correctly, it can make the problem worse.  It's essential to follow a healthcare professional's advice and adhere to a structured rehabilitation program to facilitate proper healing and prevent future complications. Patience is crucial, as tendon healing can take several weeks to months, depending on the severity of the injury and the individual's response to treatment.