This weekend Mitchell Physiotherapy once again ran a pop up information stand at Maitland Parkrun. One of the most common injuries runners wanted to talk about was achilles tendinopathy. This occurs when the achilles tendon is overloaded repeatedly (such as running far or often). Without allowing sufficient rest and recovery the tendon becomes swollen and painful.
This may initially only occur after a run, but continually training means the pain will likely occur earlier into your run, eventually becoming continuous.
In order to treat this condition we need to strengthen the achilles tendon and manage the loads it experiences during running. Calf muscles are our major propulsive force during running, contributing 25% more power to the running cycle than our quadriceps muscles. Resting and stretching are NOT the answer for this issue, as this will weaken the calf muscle and achilles tendon. (BUT you still may need to decrease your running for a period of time)
Seeing a physiotherapist is vital for the rehabilitation of your tendon. They will provide you with a progressive strengthening program which incorporates the different types of load that a tendon needs (strength, power, endurance, etc). Tendon rehabilitation does take time usually 12 weeks to 6 months. This is due to tendons adapting to change slower than other soft tissues. However, if you stick to a structured and progressive loading protocol your tendon will get better. The good news by increasing the strength of your tendon and calves your Parkrun time should get better as well!
If you are experiencing achilles tendon pain contact us for an appointment or come and have a chat the next time you see us at Parkrun.