- Jenn Gill
It is estimated that achilles tendonitis accounts for around 11% of all running injuries. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the ankle. It connects the large calf muscle (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) to the heal bone (calcaneus) and provides the power in the push off when running. The achilles tendon can become inflamed through overuse as well as a number of contributory factors. The Achilles tendon has a poor blood supply which is why it is slow to heal. Symptoms for acute inflammation of the Achilles tendon include:
1. Pain on the tendon during exercise. Achilles pain will gradually come on with prolonged exercise but will go away with rest.
2. Swelling over the Achilles tendon.
3. Redness over the skin.
4. You can sometimes feel a creaking when you press your fingers into the tendon and move the foot.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis can be:
OVERUSE. Too much too soon is the basic cause of overuse injuries, however other factors can make an overuse injury more likely.
RUNNING UP HILL. Running up hills will mean the achilles tendon has to stretch more than normal on every stride. This is fine for a while, but will mean the tendon will fatigue sooner than normal.
OVERPRONATION. AKA feet which roll in, can place an increased strain on the achilles tendon. As the foot rolls in (or flattens) the lower leg rotates inwards also which causing a twisting of the achilles tendon.
HIGH HEELS. Wearing high heels constantly and then expecting to run 5 miles in flat running shoes puts abnormal strain on the achilles tendon making it stretch further than it is comfortable.
Have you noticed all of the common running injuries share one thing - they can be caused by shoes that are not correct for you and are not supportive!! This is why it is important to be fit properly and put in shoes that are appropriate for you and the activities you enjoy.
So what can you do to treat Achilles Tendonitis?
1. REST and apply cold therapy or ice (not directly on the skin).
2. GET FIT. Go through our personal Expert FIT process, if you haven't already, to be sure you're running in shoes that provide the right support and stability.
3. SUPERFEET. Wear a SuperFeet insert. This will give you added stability and shock absorption.
4. See a sports injury professional who can advise on treatment and rehab.