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Achilles Tendonopathy in Athletes: Prevention and Rehab Tips



If you are an athlete, then you may have experienced pain or swelling in the back of your heel, over the thick cord-like structure, called your Achilles Tendon.  The Achilles Tendon is a dense tissue that connects the calf muscles, or the gastrocnemius-soleus complex, to the heel bone, known as the calcaneus.  When you rise up onto your toes, when you transfer your weight while running, and when you jump and land, your Achilles Tendon is involved in controlling the mechanics of the movement.


Tendonopathy occurs when a tendon is overloaded beyond its capacity and becomes painful, inflamed, or weakened.  Injuries involving the Achilles tendon range from acute inflammation/irritation of the tendon (tendonitis), to chronic irritation and degeneration (tendonosis), to calcification, to rupture or failure of the tendon fibers (can be a partial or complete tear).


The Achilles Tendon may become injured for various reasons, including weakness, lack of flexibility, altered mechanics or pronating feet, progressing training or activity too quickly, or changes in footwear or running form.