Do you experience pain in your calves whilst running? It may well be that you aren’t wearing the correct footwear. Perhaps you roll in (pronate) or roll out (supinate) your ankles when you run. Over time this would lead to pain in the Achilles tendon, causing micro tears in the tissues and possibly leading to developing Achilles tendinopathy. If your problem were in the mid portion of your Achilles’ tendon, eccentrically loading the tendon would be the treatment of choice. This means contracting the tendon whilst it lengthens. We have two muscles that make up the Achilles’ tendon, the gastrocnemius and soleus, and we need to load both of them.
Alfredson devised a specific exercise programme which includes eccentric exercises off a step. These exercises need to be carried out 15 times twice a day for approximately 12 weeks. The best person to teach you these exercises and progress you through them effectively is a physiotherapist. The exercises load the tendon and encourage collagen production, which builds new healthy and strong tissue.
Another possibility is that your calf muscles are simply too tight and you have strained your Achilles’. The knee to wall test is an easy way to check whether your calves are shortened. Place your knee and your big toe against the wall, and start to move your foot backwards with your heel fully on the floor and without your knee leaving the wall. Go back as far as you can when the heel starts to lift, then stop. Now measure the distance between your big toe and the wall. You should have approximately 10cm from your big toe to the wall. If you don’t, this can greatly affect your running ability and injuries can occur. If you have not already, continue to rest and apply ice.
It is always worth having a running gait analysis done to ensure you’re wearing the correct footwear for you. Shops such as www.runandbecome.com provide this service and have a number of shops through the UK. Our highly specialist sports and orthopaedic physiotherapists are able to see you at work or home and we can often arrange the first appointment within 24 hours. Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at email@example.com.