The Achilles is the large tendon of the back of the leg which attaches two muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone (or calcaneus). Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles. Symptoms can vary from pain or burning in the ankle.
High and repetitive stress on the Achilles can cause the inflammation. The Achilles has poor blood supply which can lead to degradation of the fibers forming the tendon. Various biomechanical characteristics can create stress in the Achilles.
What does science have to say?
Researchers have studied the Achilles tendinitis, here are some key facts:
- Non-rearfoot strike pattern results in increased loads and loading rates in the Achilles tendon (1)
- Foot overpronation may affect Achilles tendon blood flow thus enhancing the possibility for injury (2)
- Minimalist footwear may increase runners risk for Achilles tendon injury (3)
- Higher impacts caused by fast training sessions lead to excessive stress on the Achilles tendon (4)
How to avoid it?
Researchers have demonstrated that Achilles tendinitis can arise from numerous factors.
Forefoot striking increases the load on Achilles tendon which can cause an inflammation, thus Achilles tendinitis. More precisely, a rapid change in foot strike modifies drastically the stress on Achilles and can deteriorate the fibres constituting the tendon. Minimalist footwear also modifies the foot strike towards a more forefoot strike pattern.
Overpronation and higher impacts will also increase the load on the Achilles which can cause fibres deterioration.
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