29 Jan Achilles Tendinitis
As we continue our running injury series, we will move up the foot a little bit and focus on the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and it connects the calf muscle to the heel. This tendon can even withstand over 1000 pounds of force! However, Mr. Achilles tendon will get mad and irritated if you don’t treat him with care, leading to Achilles tendinitis.
So, what is Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is a very common injury related to “overuse” activities such as running or walking. As we learned last week “itis” means inflammation. As one participates in rigorous activity, stress (up to 10x/body weight during running) is placed across the Achilles tendon and can become inflamed, medically known as Achilles tendinitis.
As with other common running related injuries, a rapid increase in distance or effort (intensity), inadequate stretching before and after activity, running on inclines and improper shoe wear may cause injury. Individuals with Achilles tendinitis will report a sharp, burning or even shooting pain at the heel and even toward the calf region. Most often tenderness and swelling also occur at the heel.
Proper treatment of the injured site would depend on the phase of the injury. However, simple home achilles tendinitis treatment would include halting your running or walking program, icing and stretching calf (gastrocnemius/soleus) musculature. Please note there are many other medical conditions that may cause pain in the calf region and you should seek advice from your physician or physical therapist.
Pro Physical Therapy
Cory Lee, LPTA, RRCA-Running Coach, Advanced Proficiency in Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy
Kimberly Lee, Doctor of Physical Therapy