The Achilles tendon is the part of your calf muscles that attaches to your heel.The main role of this structure is to store elastic energy, then release it during the push-off phase.
What causes the pain?
Achilles pain is very common with runners. Increase in intensity, distance, or change in footwear can all cause an increase of the load on the tendon. Poor running technique, often overstriding - long steps forcing you to land on your heel instead of the midfoot - can also impact the tendon negatively. Achilles tendinopathy is often referred to as an overuse injury.
This is why the tendon capacity can also be reduced by running on consecutive days, shortening the periods of needed rest.
What can you do to prevent it?
As the principle osteopath at Hong Kong Sports Clinic, I will assess your running technique, body stability and various kinetic chains to ensure that you are loading the tendon optimally. As a first line of treatment, you should avoid running 2 days in a row in order to give the tendon enough rest between sessions. Ensure that you wear comfortable shoes, and that you do not increase your running mileage too fast too soon.
Can a long-time injury still be treated?
An irritated tendon goes through different phases: reaction, dysrepair and degeneration. The portion of your Achilles tendon that has degenerated cannot really improve. But our team of practitioners can guide you to strengthen its remaining healthy part. We see runners with barely 30% of their tendon intact still perform very well! A tailored exercise program including progressive load of the tendon is required to go back at running, while diminishing the odds of re-injury.
If you suffer from Achilles pain, do not hesitate to contact Hong Kong Sports Clinic team. We will help you to manage the load you put on the tendon, assess your running technique and help you building up the required stability.