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Achilles tendon pain

Achilles tendon pain is a common complaints with runners. The complaints are often long-term and very difficult to treat. You often see that runners do not know what to do. In this article you will get an explanation about how the complaints arise, what different forms there are and what you do and what you should not do.

What is the Achilles tendon?

Figure 1
Figure 2

The Achilles tendon is the tendon that connects the deep and superficial calf muscles to the heel bone. The tendon is the strongest tendon in the body and has to endure enormous powers while running. Too much repetition of excessive forces on the tendon can cause an overload. On picture 1 you see the M. Soleus muscle, this is the deep calf muscle and on picture 2 you see the M. Gastrocnemius the superficial calf muscle. The M. Gastrocnemius consists of two muscle heads (inner and outer) that overlap in the Achilles tendon. Together they form about 50% of the Achilles tendon. The Soleus is responsible for the other 50% of the Achilles tendon.

How do you recognize an achilles tendon injury?

In general, injuries of the Achilles tendon gradually arise. The pain is initially only at the beginning of activity and goes away after the warming up. Later the pain persists longer and is also present at rest. Often there are stiffness complaints in the morning in the Achilles tendon.

The complaints can occur in several places: about 2 to 7cm above the attachment on the heelbot and on or around the heelbot itself. Sometimes there is swelling in the tendon or the attachment to the heel.

Causes of Achilles tendon complaints

Achilles tendon injuries are generally caused by overload. This is often due to several factors that work together.

  • A sudden increase in training size or intensity for example through more hills in the training;
  • An instability in the leg while running;
  • Weak muscles in the hips, upper legs, calves or feet;
  • Limited mobility in one or both ankles;
  • Foot position deviations that cause the tendon to be asymmetrically loaded;
  • Poor running technique;
  • Bad or old running shoes.

How can you prevent Achilles tendon complaints?

  • Make sure you gradually build up the running;
  • If you are training, a good warm-up is indispensable, especially in the winter months it is important to pay extra attention to this dynamic warm-up;;
  • Have a specialist check your shoes, for example at at Run2Day.;
  • Ensure sufficient mobility in the ankles;
  • Train for sufficient strength in the calf muscles;
  • Ensure sufficient stability in the hip;;
  • A good running technique, Like in this article.

Learn more about the different types of Achilles tendon complaints:

1. Insertion 

2. Midportion 

3. Bursitis