Tips To Improve Achilles Pain

%image_alt%Achilles Pain
  • The calf muscle (gastrocnemius and soleus ) attaches to the heel via the Achilles tendon
  • It’s function is to transfer force generated from the calf to the heel to cause ankle plantar flexion (pointing toe)
  • 60% off the force required to walk is initiated by the calf and transferred by the Achilles tendon
  • The Achilles tendon is therefore commonly injured in running athletes due to repetitive strain
  • Achilles tendonopathy (pathological change in the tendon) is the most common injury in the heel region, other common injuries include; bursitis, partial and complete tendon tears, tendinosis and Severs disease in children (inflammation of the growth plate at the heel)
  • Classic symptoms of achilles tendinitis include pain and swelling over the achilles tendon, morning stiffness and pain with walking or running
  • Cause is often multifactorial; change in training, poor foot mechanics, previous achilles/calf injury, repetitive strain
  • Research has shown that eccentric exercise (muscle lengthening while developing force) is effective in reducing pain and facilitates returning to sport in patients with achilles tendinitis (Alfredson et al, 1998)

TIPS

  • If you are feeling pain in the heel speak to your personal trainer or physiotherapist to get an early diagnosis
  • Speak to your personal trainer about an eccentric exercise program to gently load the tendon
  • Avoid the aggravating activity – continuing will worsen the pathology in the tendon
  • Ice can be an effective in reducing swelling if present
  • A heel raise can be an effective way to unload the tendon complex
Written By Chris Tubb

Source: Alfredson, H., Pietila, T., Jonsson, P. & Lorentzon, R. (1998). Heavy-Load Eccentric Calf Muscle Training for the treatment of Chronic Achilles tendinosis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 26(3).


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