Every week I get asked for information on Achilles Tendinitis. So instead of constantly referring people to other sites, I thought it was time to write an article on Achilles Tendinitis myself.
Achilles injuries are commonly associated with sports that require a lot of running, jumping and change of direction. Excessive twisting or turning of the ankle and foot can result in inflammation, strain or a rupture. Sports with the highest occurrence of Achilles injury include running, walking, cycling, football, basketball and tennis.
If you suffer from Achilles tendinitis or are seeking to prevent its occurrence it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that's just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.
|Achilles tendon image from Principles of Anatomy and Physiology.|
As you can see from the diagram to the right, the Achilles tendon is located at the rear (posterior) of the bottom half of the lower leg. In the diagram it is represented by the thick band of connective fibre that runs from bottom of the Gastrocnemius muscle to the heel bone.
The Achilles tendon is used to plantar flex the foot, or point the foot downward. This allows a person the run, jump and stand on one's toes.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon of the body, and able to withstand a 1000 pound force without tearing. Despite this, the Achilles ruptures more frequently than any other tendon because of the tremendous pressures placed on it during competitive sports.
There are two main types of injuries that affect the Achilles tendon; Achilles Tendinitis and Achilles Tendon Rupture.
Achilles Tendinitis is simply an inflammation of the tendon, and in most cases is caused by excessive training over an extended period of time.
Achilles Tendon Rupture, on the other hand, is a tear (or complete snapping) of the tendon, and usually occurs as the result of a sudden or unexpected force. In the case of a complete rupture, the only treatment available is to place the lower leg in a plaster cast for 6 to 8 weeks, or surgery. As both of these treatments are beyond the scope of this newsletter, we'll be focusing the rest of this article on Achilles Tendinitis.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are a number of causes and risk factors associated with Achilles Tendinitis. One of the most common causes is simply a lack of conditioning. If the tendon, and muscles that connect to the tendon, have not been trained or conditioned, this can lead to a weakness that may result in an Achilles injury.
Overtraining is also associated with Achilles Tendinitis. Doing too much, too soon places excessive strain on the Achilles tendon and doesn't allow the tendon enough time to recovery properly. Over time small tears and general degeneration result in a weakening of the tendon, which leads to inflammation and pain.
Other causes of Achilles injury include a lack of warming up and stretching. Wearing inadequate footwear, running or training on uneven ground, and simply standing on, or in something you're not meant to. Biomechanical problems such as high arched feet or flat feet can also lead to Achilles injuries.
If you'd like to discover the tips, tricks and techniques the best trainers use to successfully prevent 95% of all soft tissue sports injuries, take a look at the Sports Injury Management training course.
You'll learn how to warm up and cool down properly; how to avoid overtraining; how to eliminate muscle imbalances; and how to care for pre-existing injuries.
You'll also discover a proven step-by-step procedure for rapid and complete recovery. Plus, how to make the injured area 110% stronger than it was before the injury occurred.
Go ahead and visit the information page to find out more, and see how you can successfully prevent and treat over 95% of all soft tissue sports injuries.
In part 2, I'll be outlining a comprehensive initial and ongoing treatment program to make recovery from Achilles Tendinitis as quick as possible. Click here to continue reading part 2.