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59 / How To Strengthen & Heal Your Tendon Issues w/ Jill Cook

Rehab that involves tendons can be slow and frustrating. It may seem painful and like little progress is ever being made. The truth is, there’s a lot we still don’t fully understand about tendons. That’s why I’m talking today to one of the foremost experts in tendon pathology to try to make more sense of exactly how these important parts of our bodies function and heal.

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Jill Cook, Ph.D., is a physiotherapist, musculoskeletal researcher, and professor. Her main interests are in connective tissue function, injury, and healing with a specific focus on the risk factors for tendon injury and the tendon in growth and development. She is currently working in the Musculoskeletal Research Centre at La Trobe University and at the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University.

Today, Jill is explaining just what our tendons are, how they work, and how to heal them after an injury. Jill tells us how our tendons are the “springs” of our bodies that allow us to move in so many important ways. You’re going to walk away from this episode with a new appreciation for your tendons, how to prevent injuries, and how to help heal old ones.

Have you gone through rehab for a tendon injury? Tell me how it went in the comments below!

In this episode

  • How to diagnose issues with your tendons and common myths to ignore
  • Why medical imaging is not useful for diagnosing problems with your tendons
  • Some of the common causes of tendon breakdown to be aware of other than biomechanics
  • Why cortisone and stem-cell injections won’t solve your tendon problems
  • The reasons why loading programs are the most effective way to strengthen and heal tendons
  • How to help people heal the psychological wounds from a tendon injury


“You can have profound tendon pathology and never have a symptom. So you can’t look at a picture of someone who has tendon pain and say that’s the source of the symptoms. It might be, but it might not be.” [7:15]

“There isn’t a quick fix for tendons. People want something that’s latest, greatest, expensive; they’re not always the answer for tendons. The answer is unless you have the capacity in your tendon, muscle, kinetic chain and brain, then you’re going to have tendon pain.” [16:25]

“It doesn’t matter what you inject into the tendon, you’re not going to change the structure back to normal. Nothing will change tendon structure back to normal.”  [17:31]


Follow Jill Cook on Twitter

Episode 24 with Brett Winchester