Nutrition can help with recovery - specifically a tendon injury

Are you frustrated by an ongoing tendon injury? Do you want to optimise your rehabilitation process? The good news is you can, tailoring your diet can actually aid your recovery time.

In the last newsletter Fran discussed how eating certain foods, in the right amounts and at specific times can help speed up the recovery time of muscle tears. The same approach can be also applied to tendon injuries.

Whilst previously tendon injuries and nutrition was not a well researched area, new evidence is now emerging that tendon rehabilitation is positively affected by a solid nutrition programme. A proper nutrition plan can positively influence the inflammation process, aid tendon repair and minimise the rate of muscle mass loss during the rest and recovery period.

One of the most important considerations is to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. Consuming inadequate calories, vitamins, minerals and the right balance of macronutrients – especially protein – will impair wound healing and exacerbate the loss of tendon, as well as muscle, mass and function.

  1. Tendon ruptures: Let’s take a look at protein considerations for a ruptured tendon. Tendons are the connection between the bone and muscle and made up of approximately 85% collagen. So, at a basic level the nutrients required to build tendons can help repair a rupture. Collagen is a protein, which is made from smaller building blocks called amino acids, and the major amino acids in tendon collagen are glycine and proline.

Good sources include: Gelatin products, soy beans, chicken and cheese (glycine). Avocado, asparagus, eggs and cottage cheese (proline)

Leucine, (an amino acid which was discussed in the previous article regarding muscle repair), is a key amino acid to include in your diet. It’s the only amino acid known to directly stimulate muscle cell growth and repair, and it’s also been shown to directly stimulate tendon formation.

Good sources include: lentils, tuna, cod, cottage cheese, almonds, milk and whey protein.

One of the features of tendons, and the reason they can be such an annoying ongoing injury, is that blood flow to the tendon can be pretty poor, resulting in difficulties supplying adequate nutrients to the area. Increasing the amount of dietary nitrates in your diet (beetroot, spinach, rocket and celery are all good sources) can positively influence the amount of nitric oxide in your blood, which is shown to help increase blood flow through the capillaries, by relaxing and widening the capillaries.


  1. Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons have been shown to respond well to omega 3 supplementation (1-2g/day). The effectiveness of this is increased further when combined with an increased intake of polyphenols. Good sources include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, spinach, olives, walnuts, green tea and 70% dark chocolate.

The evidence suggests omega 3 fatty acids and these polyphenols work in synergy with each other and, with a recommended physio programme, will reduce the pain associated with tendinitis.

So, taking control of your diet is a positive step you can make to get you, excuse the pun, up and running quicker. If you would like more information or a personal nutrition plan tailored to you then please call Fran on 07852 143804 or email

Fran is offering a 20% discount to all The Physio Rooms newsletter subscribers until 30th June 2017.