Achilles Tendinosis is a common injury for athletes who participate in many sports including running, football, dancing and tennis. The achilles tendon is a powerful tendon in the body which attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. In cases of Achilles tendinosis there is degeneration of the collagen fibres within the tendon, fibre disorientation, and increased ground substance (as opposed to a tendinitis which is inflammation of the tendon).
What are the causes of Achilles Tendinosis?
There is no single cause for achillles tendinosis, and what actually causes it remains unknown, however, a variety of factors can increase its risk such as being an older sports-person; pronation, or an increased rolling in of the foot on weight-bearing; poor fitness levels, particularly in sports that are high impact; and excessive loading of the tendon over a period of time, for example if your training schedule has increased before a competition.
Can you prevent it?
There are a few things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing achilles tendinosis, however, as we do not know exactly what causes it prevention can be difficult. Wearing the right footwear for your foot type and using an appropriate and individualised training programme may help.
How is it treated?
Resting from the aggravating activity is a must. Your physio may use taping to off-load the tendon and also release any tight structures in the area with soft-tissue therapy. You will then need to be started on a rehabilitation programme to strengthen the tendon. For achilles tendinosis, your physio will prescribe an eccentric training programme which includes controlled heel lowering off a step which will need to be completed and progressed over a period of weeks to months.