Is running causing you “Achilles Tendonitis”?
Runners do not usually experience the gruesome injuries we see in contact sports, but just like other athletes – runners are no exception to sport-induced injuries. While running, the Achilles tendon is one of the most involved areas, which also makes it one of the structures that get injured the most. The Achilles tendon is a large tendon connecting the calf muscles: gastrocnemius and soleus, to the back of the heel bone. In runners, the Achilles tendon helps absorb the shock of landing and helps propel them during the “push-off” phase of the normal running gait. Since runners tend to overuse this area, inflammation of the tendon known as “Achilles Tendonitis” is very common. Runners generally start experiencing achiness or pain in the heel and/or calf upon running, hopping or jumping. Stiffness in the morning is also another symptom indicating that the Achilles tendon is inflamed.
With my experience of treating runners – I have found three problems that may inhibit the Achilles tendon from functioning at its best.
- Tightness or fatigue of the calf, hamstrings and gluteus muscles
Cause: Not stretching the calf, hamstrings, gluteus or IT band muscles; increasing the distance to soon; overtraining; hill running and/or speed work.
Solution: Strengthening and stretching exercises targeting the calf, hamstrings and gluteus muscles. Resistance bands are extremely useful to start a strengthening program. (For more information on which movements are ideal for this click on the link below Place my video link below). Manual therapies such as the “Graston technique,” can help remove scar tissue formation from long-term overuse of the tendon.
Cause: It is recommended that running shoes be changed every six months. The continued usage of these shoes that are worn out unevenly can cause twisting of the Achilles tendon – creating inflammation.
Solution: Buy shoes that are for the activity you are going to be performing. Training shoes are not meant to be used for running and vice-versa. If you have a history of trauma, causing asymmetry of your body, shoe orthotics may be a great option for you.
- Misalignment of the pelvis and feet
Cause: When your pelvis or lower extremities are shifted from their normal alignment, muscles may be inhibited creating greater stresses on your body. This can lead to overuse syndromes such as Achilles tendonitis.
Solution: Adjustments, adjustments!! Getting your spine and extremities checked by a chiropractor can help you rebuild the strength in weakened areas. Our nervous system and spine are a team; they work together for maximal body function!
“Achilles Tendonitis” is a common running injury that may begin from one or several factors. The key is to address it quickly and prevent the further development of scar tissue. If you know someone suffering from this or other sports injuries, give us a call!
Yours in health,
Dr. Adriana Huertas