Identify an Achilles Tendon Injury

An achilles tendon injury usually begins with a slight burning sensation along the tendon attached to the top back of your ankle and running up through and behind your calf muscle. Once your tendon becomes inflamed, if running persists the burning will escalate to acute pain possibly to the point where any weight-bearing, particularly the act of going up on your toes, will become extremely painful.

Causes

Due mainly to their location, meager construction and yet very busy function during running, your achilles are quite a vulnerable area. For this reason, a sudden achilles tendon injury tends to affect veteran and newer runners alike.

Veteran runners who are well accustomed to higher mileage and regular speed tend to experience achilles problems as a first point of breakdown as if this area was the weak link in the running musculature system of the body.

Experienced runners also typically have at least a small list of running injuries that they've worked through over the years. If that list happens to include a previous achilles injury, then the chances of recurrence is higher than usual. Unless treated properly through recovery, the affected achilles area will heal with less pliable muscle fibre than what was originally in place and therefore always be more susceptible to re-injury.

For newer runners, the achilles can simply be put through too much unfamiliar stress than its willing to take.

Since proper running form places a good amount of stress on the lower legs and all of their tendons and connective tissues, an achilles tendon injury can also be the likely result of attempting to change form too quickly.

Manage an Achilles Tendon Injury

Time off from running might be the only truly effective immediate treatment for an achilles injury. To assist with future pliability of the achilles area, friction massage by a professional therapist has proven to be a very effective (and painful) treatment during recovery.

After a couple of days off and possible treatment, commence strengthening exercises such as standing up on your toes. Any residual soreness will quickly present as you rise up. An injury is most often only on one leg, so start by using both legs and eventually transfer your weight to the affected leg. Once running is resumed, stop if sharp pain or heat persists and take more time off.

Strengthening all of the surrounding supporting muscles is by far the most important measure that can be taken to prevent an achilles injury. The late great distance running God Arthur Lydiard always bragged that none of his athletes had ever experienced achilles injuries because they all did regular hill training. Specifically, hill bounding exercises really contributes to the strength of the entire lower leg structure as well as flexibility in the feet and ankle structures.

Return to top of Achilles Tendon Injury page

Go to main Running Injuries page

Go to Home page