High cholesterol levels linked to tendon injury and pain risk

ThinkstockPhotos-469005163Chronic low inflammation prompted by high cholesterol levels has been linked to tendon abnormalities and pain. Tendons are what connect muscles and bones within the body. Stress is put onto tendons from obesity, fat distribution and overuse, either through exercise or work. Researchers suggest these factors do not attribute to the rising number of cases of tendon injury and pain.

Researchers found that those with familial hypercholesterolaemia – genetically determined high cholesterol – were more likely to suffer from tendon injury and pain compared to those who did not.


The researchers went through six medical research databases to collect their information and came up with 1,607 articles; seventeen of them involved 2,612 participants.

They found that those with abnormal tendon structures were more likely to have high blood fat. These individuals also had higher LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Two studies examined thickness of the Achilles tendon and found those with higher lipid levels also had thicker tendons. The researchers wrote, “Together, these findings provide significant support for a metabolic hypothesis of tendon injury and implicate lipid parameters as a potential link.”

The research was observational and does not contribute to any conclusions. The association could be contributed to lack of exercise due to tendon injury, which could increase bad cholesterol. One thing is for certain, those with genetically determined cholesterol do have changes to their tendon structures, making them more prone to tendon injury and pain.

The findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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