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Specialised Massage Blog

Runners Blight - Achilles Tendinopathy

Friday, February 01, 2019

RUNNERS BLIGHT – Achilles Tendinopathy

I saw a new client yesterday who loves to run and run. It gives him a high like nothing else. In fact, he gets jittery if he doesn’t get to run. Now some would say there is nothing wrong with a bike scooter or car to get around but if running is your thing then read on…..

Tom (not his real name) told me his physio had told him he had plantar fasciitis. However, the pain pattern and location indicted Achilles Tendinopathy. This is a very common overuse injury with runners but Achilles Tendon pain can occur in anyone who is on their feet all day and especially walking and standing on hard surfaces. So I thought you might like a run down on this irritating condition.

This is experienced as pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness at the back of the heel and or along the tendon. This is often worse in the mornings or after a run and can hurt enough to limit exercise.

The tendon may thicken and become fibrosed from the injury and inflammation resulting in tethering within the tendon sheath, affecting the mobility of surrounding tissue. So with movement, the tendon does not glide in the tendon sheath pulling on the tissues and muscles causing more inflammation. Sometimes a bony lump forms. This is the bone reacting to the strain by building more bone to support the tendon attachments. Your body’s effort to prevent tearing. If the strain is too great the tendon may rupture / tear. Now you are looking at surgery.

The following conditions make you more likely to develop these symptom.

  • tight and stiff muscles
  • poor techniques and training
  • sudden increases in activity load
  • excessive weight
  • poor shock absorption-surfaces, shoes
  • hyper-flexibility – joint laxity
  • muscle weaknesses
  • incorrect muscle firing patterns
  • structural abnormalities
  • poor mobility and flexibility


Rescue Options

  • get an assessment ASAP – what is happening – posture, balance, strength, gait, footwear
  • release tight muscles and fascia/ tissues – remedial massage therapies, taping
  • reduce the load so swelling and inflammation reduces – time, distance, shoes, surfaces
  • begin working on the imbalances with specific therapeutic and graded exercises
  • build strength when the inflammation settles
  • don’t stop running or exercising – motion is lotion, warm up and cool down
  • use the four 20-s – 20 min cool (not cold), rest for 20 min, 20 min warm (not hot) repeat

Healing time will vary according to the severity, duration of symptoms, individual tissue response, diligence with adjustment of the aggravating conditions and doing the exercises. Diagnostic imaging may be needed if problems are not resolving.

Patience and Persistence Is Critical. Your Body Can Heal: In It’s Own Time With Help.

Sound familiar? Book a professional assessment and treatment appointment.

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