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Achilles Tendonitis A Runners Achilles Heel

Achilles Tendonitis A Runners Achilles Heel
Achilles Tendonitis A Runners Achilles Heel

What Is Achilles Tendonitis?

The Achilles tendon is a large tendon positioned at the back of the ankle. The tendon is an extension of the calf muscles running down the back of the lower leg attaching to the into the heel bone. The function of the Achilles tendon by connecting the leg muscles to the foot and gives you the ability to point your toes toward the floor and push off during walking and running.
Achilles tendonitis also referred to as Achilles tendinitis, Achilles tendon pain, Achilles tendinosis, Achilles tendinopathy is a chronic, yet common condition of injury to this Achilles tendon occurring in sports people and recreational athletes.
The name Achilles tendonitis is a term referring to inflammation of the Achilles tendon or its covering sheath. Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that is common especially but not exclusively in runners due to the repetitive action that running entails.
Achilles tendinopathy is a medically preferred term when referring to Achilles tendon complaints as this term includes both to possibility of there being inflammation, degeneration and micro-tears present. However out of habit Achilles tendonitis is still used by many practitioners physiotherapists and doctors alike.
Research has found that with Achilles tendon complaints the tendon typically does not involve any inflammation and is most likely as issues as a result of a series of microtears and degeneration of the tendon referred to as tendinosis.

Causes Of Achilles Tendonitis

Like a lot of tendon complaints Achilles tendon issues tend to be associated with the over thirties in particular for the Achilles tendon men older than 30 years old are the most prone. Situations such as overdoing physical activity and reduced rest allowing little recovery between sessions or increasing activities levels too quickly are ways to put yourself at risk of tendon injury. Denying the tissue adequate time to recover, repair and adapt.
Other Biomechanical And Training Factors In Achilles Tendon Injury Include:

  • Sudden change in training surface (switching from road to sand running or vice versa)
  • Having flat feet or high foot arches with a tight Achilles tendon
  • Having tight hamstrings and calf muscles
  • Toe walking / running due to shortened posterior lower limb structures, weak gluteal muscles and hip extensors, altered foot biomechanics…
  • Wearing inappropriate footwear for your foot type and activity or surface.

Then couple this with activities such where the sport demands you quickly accelerate, slow down, or pivot. Such as:

  • Running
  • Gymnastics
  • Dance
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Tennis

And this all paints a recipe for developing Achilles tendonitis.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance on Achilles Tendonitis A Runners Achilles Heel should consult his or her physiotherapist or medical practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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