Troublesome tendons

There seems to be something in the water, I have seen a lot of these recently….heres some info to hopefully avoid achilles tendinopathy. Prevention is better than cure!

The Achilles is the longest and strongest tendon in the body and is subjected to vast loads during running. It has an elastic property which allows it to store energy as we land, the tendon then uses this stored elastic energy for propulsion. The Achilles tendon attaches the calf musculature to the heel bone and is made up a something called Collagen, this is thick strong fibrous tissue and in the Achilles tendon the fibres are bundled together like tightly packed spaghetti. Sometimes the Achilles can become painful, this usually occurs because the tendon cannot deal with excessive loads and starts to break down in an effort to repair itself. This process is largely non inflammatory, despite the condition previously being known as tendinitis indicating inflammation at the tendon. Commonly this occurs in runners because they have done one of two things:

Sometimes the tendon can be subject to overload due to biomechanical factors such as over pronation, excessive forefoot running, and too much running in minimalist footwear.

Common symptoms are pain, stiffness, and sometimes a swelling or thickening around the tendon. This occurs as the tendon substance starts to change. When tendinopathy sets in the fibres become more spread out (looser spaghetti!) with other substances that should not be there and the tendon thickens. Very often the condition is worse after periods of immobility (first thing in the morning usually the worst), though can improve and “warm up” through the day, or through a run.

Caught early and with the right treatment/ adaptation of training the condition can be improved significantly. So top tips: