The Achilles, the largest, strongest tendon in the human body, was named after the fierce Greek warrior-god, who was known for his strength. This tendon causes a downward flexion of the foot by connecting to the muscles of the calf. The tendon is a principle driver in walking, running and jumping due to its sheer size and the strength of its attached muscles. You definitely want to use it if you are going to to go anywhere.
We transfer a significant amount of force to the Achilles every time we produce movement and this force is exaggerated when running or even walking. Microscopic rips and tears result from the trials of our everyday activities, but these tears heal overnight. Overtime these tiny tears can wear on us, causing tendonitis, and healing can take a long time due to limited blood supply. Some of the greatest perpetrators of this condition are imbalance and poor-fitting shoes. Although these factors don’t help, long-term overuse is the main culprit.
Runners and athletes are some of the most common victims of Achilles tendonitis. According to an article in the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Running produces forces up to eight times the body’s weight, placing significant repetitive stress on the tendon for long periods. Tendonitis in athletes is usually caused by training errors such as incorrect running technique or wearing improperly fitting shoes.”(1)
It’s important to protect the feet in any activity because an injury to the Achilles would inhibit even the most simple of movements. Proper healing is crucial to prevent chronic pain, correcting the foot function with chiropractic care fight here in in our Fort Collins Chiropractic office is the best solution for recovery.
Inversion and Eversion
Excessively pronating the foot outward or inward can put unneeded stress on the Achilles tendon as it can cause imbalances at the foot and ankle joints, which will undoubtedly lead to injury. This injury is one that affects men and women of all ages and can take time to restore proper function. Dynamic Chiropractic states “The Achilles tendon bows in on the side of hyperpronation. The calcaneous tilts inward, bringing the talus with it. The stress can extend to the tibia and along the entire kinetic chain.” (2)
Due to the pinnacle role the Achilles tendon plays in movement and action, it is crucial to recover this tissue properly. Rest and ice should starting points for even minor cases. Ice and rest will help reduce inflammation and restore the tendon’s functional range of motion.
Similarly to rest and ice, recovering can be accelerated by the use of well-supporting footwear, orthotics, kinesio tape and stretching. Stretching can benefit recovery and enhance the natural range of motion in the foot. A chiropractor’s understanding of the kinematics of the body can help aid your recovery, by restoring proper foot function so that the achilles heals properly. Footwear should be used that is arch-supporting and allows for good ankle stability, which can prevent further injury.
It would be helpful if our muscles and tendons were strong as the Greek soldier Achilles, but it is important for our patients understand the repercussions of injuring such a critical part of the body. Our bodies go to war each day and common wear and tear can defeat even our greatest soldiers.
Dr. Mathew Ullom, BSc, DC was a scholarship athlete and is currently the Fort Collins Sports Chiropactor for the CSU Men’s Rugby team. He has dedicated much of his free time to studying sports injuries and prides himself on getting athletes back in the game as quickly as possible.
(1) Mazzone,, Michael F., McCue, Timothy. (May 2002). Common Conditions of the Achilles Tendon. www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0501/p1805.html
(2) Charrette, Mark. (May 2004). Structural Imbalance and Postural Support. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=46197.