Professional athletes and their management teams often describe tendon injuries as gut-wrenching, soul-destroying, or, in severe cases, career-ending.
It’s a feeling that no athlete ever wants to deal with – the thought of never getting back to your peak.
Tendon injuries don’t just set players and athletes back for months; they often spell the beginning of the end of what would otherwise have been very successful sporting careers.
What Are Tendons?
Tendons are inflexible, and inelastic connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone.
They serve an important purpose – To act as a connection between our muscles and our bones. When we flex our muscles (by pushing or pulling), we transfer energy to our skeletal system and are thus able to move in any desired way.
Without our tendons, our muscles would be useless as the ‘bridge’ connecting muscle and bone would be lost.
Why Healthy Tendons Are Important to Athletes
As mentioned, tendons are like strong, flexible connectors in our bodies. They can transform and strengthen based on how we use them.
The importance of maintaining healthy tendons cannot be overstated.
The stronger and healthier our tendons, the better the range of motion of our muscles. And the more range of motion or ease with which our muscles can perform certain tasks, the better we become at our given sport.
Healthy tendons also help with transmitting the power stored in our muscles. Think, for example, of a shot put athlete or a long jumper. They both need to exert a sudden burst of energy at some point in their delivery. Healthy tendons are able to help deliver that energy effectively.
A healthy tendon also helps prevent injuries. This is especially important when considering how long it can take for an athlete to recover from a twisted ankle or a hurt elbow due to weak tendons.
Lastly, healthy tendons contribute to the stamina and endurance that long-distance athletes need. Your lungs can provide all the oxygen in the world, and your leg muscles can feel fresh after miles, but without functioning tendons, you simply won’t be able to deliver stride after stride.
A healthy tendon is the result of a combination of things – a healthy and balanced diet, regular stretching and exercise, and a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals like L-carnosine to keep our connective tissues functioning properly.
Tendon Function During Exercise
No matter what exercise we participate in, our tendons are vital.
They help deliver the energy from our muscles to our bones, enabling us to move in various directions and speeds.
Exercise can make our tendons even better at their job. They can become more resistant, better at absorbing energy, and stiffer. This is great for athletes because it means our muscles can work more effectively and improve our athletic abilities.
Different exercises can affect tendons in different ways. For example, if you play sports like badminton or fencing, the tendons in your lead leg might become stiffer because of the specific movements involved.
Running can also help tendons in our ankles or knees become stronger and more capable, while the constant swinging and hitting motion brought on by tennis, badminton, or squash strengthens an athlete’s elbow and forearm ligaments.
Common Tendon Injuries in Athletes
There are various tendon-related injuries that athletes are exposed to during physical exertion. Here are three of the most common issues that athletes face:
Your Achilles tendon is the cord that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. It’s probably one of the most important tendons in your body because, without it, you won’t be able to walk or stand on your feet.
Fittingly, the expression Achilles heel refers to a weak point or vulnerable spot for someone.
Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon is overstretched or torn – and it’s excruciating. One of the most likely causes of an Achilles tendon tear is sudden activity without the proper warm-up or stretching. Malnutrition can also lead to tendon injury.
Picture a sprinter taking to the track and pulling away with all his might without warming up the muscles and tendons needed to disperse the energy created.
Another reason why some people suffer from Achilles tendonitis has to do with old age. As we age, our bodies go through several physical changes. One of which is that our tendons lose some of their elasticity. And that makes them vulnerable to rupture.
Suppose you’re in doubt whether or not you’ve torn an Achilles tendon. If that’s you, good news! You probably haven’t. The sharp pain that shoots up the back of your leg is undeniable – you’ll be completely sure of it if it happens to you!
Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
This is an injury to the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone.
One of the main functions of your palletar tendon is to straighten your lower leg by contacting and pulling your lower leg straight. This tendon can be injured by overuse or a hard impact on the knee cap through a fall.
While all athletes are susceptible to patellar tendonitis, it’s especially common in sports like volleyball, basketball, running, and even weight lifting (due to the strain of excessive squatting during deadlifts).
One of the telltale signs that you’ve torn your patellar tendon is swelling and inflammation around the knee area, even when you’re off your feet. Needless to say, your movement will be seriously hampered by this injury, and running, jogging, or even walking would be nearly impossible.
This specific tendon injury also takes longer than others to heal, as it’s hard to keep one’s weight off your knee completely for extended periods.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
This injury prevents the patient from bending their wrist backward, away from the palm of their hand.
The tendons connecting your forearm to the elbow are essential in sports (or other activities) that require regular forearm movement. Think here of a tennis or racquetball player, a gymnast, or even a painter or carpenter.
This tendon injury occurs mostly due to overuse or overstretching of the tendons on the outside of your elbow. Many professional tennis players like Venus Williams, Bjorn Borg, and Andy Murray have suffered the effects of tennis elbow during their careers.
With all three of these types of tendon injuries, like others of this category, the danger is that although the condition can be treated, the tendon won’t necessarily heal to the extent that it offers the same support and function it did before.
Carnosine for Tendon Health
Regarding tendon health, carnosine is one of the go-to natural compounds for athletes serious about the longevity of their muscle health and speeding up the healing process if something goes wrong.
Carnosine Acts as a Powerful Anti-Oxidant (1)
When we exercise, our muscles create tiny molecules called ‘free radicals.
These molecules can be helpful in small amounts because they’re like signals that tell our muscles to work properly.
But when we exercise really intensely, these molecules can become too many and cause problems. They can damage our muscle cells, including our tendons and other fibers.
These molecules can also affect how our genes work, making some more or less active and causing muscle changes. Some changes are good and help our muscles grow stronger, but too many of these molecules can make our muscles weak and tired.
This is where carnosine comes in.
Our bodies naturally produce carnosine to act as an anti-oxidant and keep these free radical cells in check. It does this by neutralizing and preventing them from causing too much damage to our muscle cells.
But from age 10, we produce less and less carnosine naturally. Carnosports gel helps athletes supplement this natural shield that our bodies already naturally produce, prolonging tendon health.
Carnosine Acts as a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is brought on by repetition, and most sports call for repetitive movements.
Here’s an example:
As an estimate, let’s look at the number of tennis balls a semi-professional male player who competes for 5 years might hit. Please remember that this is a rough estimate and can vary based on the player’s training regimen and the number of matches they participate in.
Matches Played: A semi-professional player might participate in local and regional tournaments, leagues, and exhibition matches. Let’s assume they play an average of 50 games per year. Over 5 years, that’s approximately 250 matches.
Balls Hit Per Match: In an average tennis match, a player might hit several hundred to over a thousand tennis balls, depending on the match’s duration and style of play. Let’s estimate an average of 600 balls hit per match.
Now, let’s calculate the total number of balls hit:
Total Matches Played (5 years x 50 matches/year) = 250 matches
Total Balls Hit (250 matches x 600 balls/match) = 150,000
Those repetitive movements put a lot of strain on a particular group of muscles and tendons and can cause micro-tearing to the tendon at the elbow. This is not limited to the game of tennis but can occur in a variety of sports, and even day-to-day activities like clicking a mouse or scrubbing the floor. So, to counteract the effects of repetitive movements on tendons, you need something to help fight off the resulting inflammation. And carnosine can do just that.
How does Carnosine help with inflammation?
Remember that carnosine helps keep those ‘free radicals’ in check, as discussed earlier.
These are the molecules that damage cells and tissue, which causes inflammation. This becomes a more serious problem when your body produces too many of these cells. By reducing the effect these free radical cells have on our bodies, Carnosine helps prevent the inflammation they cause.(2)
More than that, studies suggest that carnosine have a regulatory effect on the immune system. It may help balance the immune response, preventing it from becoming overly active and causing excessive inflammation.
Applying a sports gel like Carno Sport will help a tennis player find relief in the inflamed tendons much quicker than a conventional pill might and help amateurs to pros prolong their playing life.
In summary, your tendons form part of your arsenal of muscles, nerves, and joints that must work in complete harmony to achieve optimal performance.
We always focus on training specific muscle groups when working out, knowing very well that the more exercise these muscles get, the better they’ll perform. But remember that even the strongest muscles would mean nothing without the tendons connecting them to our skeletal system.
We need healthy tendons to function properly.
So start by applying Carnosport gel before strenuous exercise. This will give your joints and tendons that extra boost needed and give you the edge in recovery time over your competitors.