Tips To Improve Achilles Pain

20, Jan 2020
%image_alt%Achilles Pain
  • The calf muscle (gastrocnemius and soleus ) attaches to the heel via the Achilles tendon
  • It’s function is to transfer force generated from the calf to the heel to cause ankle plantar flexion (pointing toe)
  • 60% off the force required to walk is initiated by the calf and transferred by the Achilles tendon
  • The Achilles tendon is therefore commonly injured in running athletes due to repetitive strain
  • Achilles tendonopathy (pathological change in the tendon) is the most common injury in the heel region, other common injuries include; bursitis, partial and complete tendon tears, tendinosis and Severs disease in children (inflammation of the growth plate at the heel)
  • Classic symptoms of achilles tendinitis include pain and swelling over the achilles tendon, morning stiffness and pain with walking or running
  • Cause is often multifactorial; change in training, poor foot mechanics, previous achilles/calf injury, repetitive strain
  • Research has shown that eccentric exercise (muscle lengthening while developing force) is effective in reducing pain and facilitates returning to sport in patients with achilles tendinitis (Alfredson et al, 1998)


  • If you are feeling pain in the heel speak to your personal trainer or physiotherapist to get an early diagnosis
  • Speak to your personal trainer about an eccentric exercise program to gently load the tendon
  • Avoid the aggravating activity – continuing will worsen the pathology in the tendon
  • Ice can be an effective in reducing swelling if present
  • A heel raise can be an effective way to unload the tendon complex
Written By Chris Tubb

Source: Alfredson, H., Pietila, T., Jonsson, P. & Lorentzon, R. (1998). Heavy-Load Eccentric Calf Muscle Training for the treatment of Chronic Achilles tendinosis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 26(3).

enquire now