Tendons are a connective tissue that join muscles to bones and are subject to high levels of tension in sports that require explosive running and jumping such as football, gymnastics, track, basketball, volleyball, etc.
Tendon injuries can happen acutely or chronically. Acute tendon injuries usually come on suddenly with a specific mechanism of injury and usually result in swelling, pain, limited strength, decreased range of motion, and redness/warmth of the tissue.
Depending on the severity of the injury the athlete might require a week or two to regain full strength and range of motion, or it may take months for a full recovery for more severe injuries. If your athlete is only having pain during sport but is able to perform all other daily tasks and activities without pain they may be able to return to sport without difficulty after a week or two of rest. More severe injuries will require PT to support the healing process and for a personalized treatment program to allow a safe return to sport.
Chronic tendon injuries develop as a result of repetitive movements such as running and jumping and come on slowly over time. Chronic tendon injuries are a little trickier because they often are associated with other areas of weakness or stiffness. For example, someone who is experiencing chronic patellar tendon pain (just below the knee cap) may also have hip weakness and/or ankle stiffness which is leading to increased stress to the knee. These injuries will require a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment for the painful area and to identify other regions of the body that may be contributing to the problem.