Now that summer’s over and the cooler weather has set in, this is the perfect opportunity to start training outside again. Running is a great way to improve overall strength and fitness but unfortunately it can also lead to many injuries, especially in the foot and ankle. One of the most common injuries runners face is an Achilles tendinopathy which can become a persistent issue if not treated correctly. This condition can not only affect athletes but people who don’t partake in activity at all.
A tendinopathy is a term used for a dysfunction of a tendon (which attaches the end of a muscle to bone). In Achilles tendinopathy, the tendon starts to show degenerative changes through repeated micro-trauma causing you pain, stiffness and swelling to the back of the ankle where your calf attaches to your heel. There are a number of reasons as to why this happens:
- Overloading the tendon through increased activity levels or changing the type of activity
- Poor running technique
- Changing duration, frequency or distance of training sessions too quickly
- Recent injury.
When rehabilitating an Achilles tendinopathy the best treatment is usually to manage the load going through the tendon. By this, we mean reducing the stress or compressive load by modifying the painful activity, allowing for the tendon to settle. In running, this would be to decrease how far or fast you run, train on flatter/softer surfaces or have a rest completely from the activity until symptoms subside. Ice can help in the early stages to settle the pain down. A structured exercise programme will also help to develop further strength and endurance in your muscles throughout the recovery process and aid in getting you back to exercising again.
As there are many different injuries that can result from running we suggest seeking a professional opinion from a physiotherapist. Here at RU Active Sports Physiotherapy we can thoroughly assess, diagnose and treat your issue in order to keep you doing what you love. We also offer running gait assessments, exploring any biomechanical issues that may be predisposing you to injury.