Achilles Tendon Pain

Diagram of the achilles tendonThirty percent of patients who present with Achilles tendon pain do not regularly participate in sport or activity. The Achilles tendon is a frequently painful injury in people over 35 years of age. This is because as we grow older the tissue that makes up the tendon changes and becomes less able to adapt to the stress and strain we may apply to it. Most commonly this presents as a really painful tendons first thing when standing out of bed, causing you to limp for a few minutes until you have ‘warmed up’. We can help treat this problem by training the tendon to adapt to load better and when everything is in its proper place, things work better, including your feet, legs and Achilles tendon.

Risk factors:

  • Research suggests that men are more predisposed to tendon problems than women.
  • Increase in body weight can also be a factor.
  • The highest incidence of Achilles tendon pain is between the age group of 30-55 years old. As we get older our tendon loses its elastic properties and causes the muscle to work more, therefore increasing load and changes within the tendon.
  • While the tendon is healthy and elastic it can store up to 10-15% of load in elastic form within the tendon and this is important for exercises like running, jumping etc.
  • External factors include training errors, including too much too soon, environmental conditions, shoes, equipment and surfaces.

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