How to avoid Achilles tendonitis, which causes more than 1 in 10 running injuries

Triathlon Injuries: Achilles TendonitisThe Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and connects your heel bone to your two calf muscles. The tendon is crucial for walking and running, as it provides you with the power to spring forward at the start of your stride.

Due to its location in the body, the tendon has relatively poor blood supply, so this makes it vulnerable to injury and slow to heal. Tendonitis occurs for a number of reasons and is described as acute when it comes on suddenly, or chronic when it develops over a long period of time. It is difficult to treat and the most easily identifiable symptoms include swelling, redness and pain when walking up and down hills or stairs.

FOUR COMMON CAUSES OF ACHILLES TENDONITIS

1 Suddenly increasing your training could make acute tendonitis in your Achilles flare up. This increase could be running faster, further or up hills without a gradual build up to the increased workload.

2 You might find over-pronation in your running stride is a long-term cause. This is when your foot rolls in too much and puts increased pressure on the tendon. Specialist running shoes can help to correct this problem.

3 For ladies, wearing high-heeled shoes too often can weaken the tendon. This shortens the tendon and the calf muscle, and subsequent training in flat shoes stretch them beyond their normal limits.

4 Weak calf muscles increase pressure on the Achilles tendon, so you need to do exercises to strengthen them. Tight calf muscles decrease the ankle joint’s motion, which also weakens the tendon.