Prevention of Achilles Injuries
Anatomy of the Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon is one of the largest and strongest tendons in the human body, and can tolerate loads greater than our own body weight.
The Achilles tendon is a continuation of two muscles known as the ‘Calf’ muscle which is comprised of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus.
The Achilles tendon continues down the back of the leg and attaches onto the back of the calcaneus (heel bone).
To read our blog regarding Achilles Tendinitis click here.
The achilles tendon is constantly under tension regardless of what you are doing. Injuries to the achilles tendon can occur in the ‘mid-portion’ or ‘insertion’.
During exercise the achilles tendon (along with the calf muscles) have an ability to stretch an absorb load, that load then utilised in a ‘spring like’ action to aid in propulsion.
This is one of the ways the body can achieve ultimate energy efficiency.
Why do Achilles Tendons Get Injured?
For the majority of the time, achilles pain occurs because it has been overloaded causing tendinopathies, however partial and full ruptures of the achilles tendon can occur.
This comes about through placing excessive load through the tendon over a long period of time.
The tissue can tolerate excessive load in small spurts, but when it is constantly being overworked, the tissue reaches a ‘threshold’ whereby is cannot keep up, and it breaks down.
The symptoms of this type of injury are evident from very early on – you just have to be listening to your body.
The Multi-Factorial Nature of Achilles Injuries
The cause of achilles tendinopathies are multifactorial, meaning there is often more than one causative factor. Here are just a few:
- Poor strength within the entire lower limb
Poor flexibility and range of motion
- Inappropriate or worn out footwear
- Training errors most common error is over training
- Inefficiencies within your biomechanics
How Can I Prevent Achilles Injuries?
It is important that you are putting as much time and effort into recovery between training sessions for ‘maintenance’ of the body as you do with training.
- Allow rest days between training sessions
- Strength work focusing on back/glutes/Hamstring/calf.
- Stretching to improve flexibility
- Wearing the appropriate footwear and replacing shoes when needed.
- Addressing any biomechanical abnormalities
Who Can Help Me?
As Podiatrists, we identify the cause of the injury and understand what is driving the injury.
By identifying the causative factors, we can then tailor a management plan around you to get you back being active.