The Achilles tendon runs from the calf muscles down to the back of the heel bone (the back of the ankle). Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, usually due to overuse of the area. It is most commonly reported in athletes that are training under less than ideal conditions.
Although the prevalence of Achilles tendonitis varies greatly among different demographic groups, it is most commonly found in individuals aged 30-40 (American Journal of Sports Medicine.) 90% of these cases occur while participating in sport/exercise (the journal Acta Orthopaedica), and is diagnosed predominantly in runners.
There are a number of reasons why people develop Achilles tendonitis. In most cases, it is due to excessive physical training (in particular running or lunging) or using inappropriate athletic footwear while training.
The Achilles tendon has a relatively poor blood supply. This lack of blood supply is responsible for a slower tissue repair process and can therefore lead to inflammation and deterioration in the soft tissue structures of the area (the journal Arthritis Research). Tightness in the calf muscles is also associated with the onset of Achilles tendonitis (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine).
Mechanically, the bones of the ankle and foot naturally slide and glide during the various phases of running or walking. Improper movement patterns of the foot and ankle can lead to tissue irritation, inflammation and Achilles tendonitis (the journal Sports Medicine). As a specialist in the movement patterns of the skeleton, your family chiropractor is best qualified to assess the mechanics of the ankle and foot. If the movement patterns are abnormal (predisposing the patient to soft tissue injuries like Achilles tendonitis), your chiropractor is trained to make the appropriate corrections.
Chiropractors are frequently consulted for the management of Achilles tendonitis. By improving the body’s weight distribution and the biomechanics (movement patterns) of the lower extremity (leg, ankle and foot), your chiropractor helps the body to achieve a more balanced state with more graceful movement patterns. This reduces the unequal wear and tear that can lead to various painful conditions (such as Achilles tendonitis). When chiropractic treatment is coupled with specific exercises designed to strengthen the calf muscles, patients can expect to see a decrease in the rate of Achilles tendonitis recurrence.
As ‘movement’ specialists, chiropractors are best positioned to evaluate and treat ‘movement’ problems. Because chiropractors are not using drugs or surgery, chiropractic evaluation and treatment should be a integral part of any injury management strategy.
If you or anyone who know is suffering from Achilles tendonitis (or any similar injury) please feel free to contact out clinic.
Stretch of the Month
- Start standing on one leg on a stair or curb, with your heel hanging off the back.
- Gently press your heel toward the ground until you feel a gentle pull along the back of your lower leg.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Then slowly bend your knee slightly, until you feel the stretch move lower on the calf.
- Hold 30 seconds.
- Switch legs, repeating twice on each side.
New Year Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies, they’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. Why not take the opportunity to set your mind on ways to live a full life. Here are some tips on how to develop challenging, lasting and meaningful goals for 2015.
Start by asking yourself three questions:
- What characteristics of myself do I value most?
- What are my signature strengths?
- What would make me stronger?
Making a long-term commitment, regardless of what it is, starts with a single step forward.