WHAT IS AN ACHILLES TENDON?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on your tiptoes. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration.
HOW DID I GET ACHILLES TENDONITIS?
Simply defined, tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or disease and often causes swelling, pain, or irritation. Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including:
- Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity—for example, increasing the distance you run every day by a few miles without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance
- Tight calf muscles—Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon
- Bone spur—Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain
Since the Achilles muscle has a large tendon, many of our soft tissue tools (e.g. Graston technique, rapid release and ultrasound) will help resolve the ailment. Foam rolling and using a running stick are great lost cost ways to prevent the formation of trigger points in the IT band. If you’re a runner and your suffering from IT band syndrome, try experimenting with different running shoes and/or switching to a more midfoot or toe first strike pattern. Heel striking will always be 100% the wrong way to land on an outstretched foot. The natural way to land is with your forefoot and spring off using the Achilles tendon. For more information, try looking up the Pose Method.