Being overweight or obese is associated with an elevated risk of tendon pathology. However, for sportspeople the epidemiological data linking weight or adiposity on one hand, and risk of tendon pathology on the other, are less consistent. Indeed, the mechanistic links between diet, adiposity and tendon pathology remain largely unexamined. Recent studies have begun to examine the effects of dietary interventions on outcomes such as tendon biomechanics or pain. Oxidised low-density lipoprotein has been shown to (A) accumulate in the tendon tissues of mice that eat a fatty diet and (B) induce a pathological phenotype in human tendon cells. This paper addresses the current debate: is excessive body mass index (causing increased load and strain on tendon tissue) per se the underlying mechanism? Or do local or systemic influences of fat on tendons predispose to tendon pathology? This narrative review argues that excessive blood lipids may be an important avenue for clinical investigations.
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