Achilles tendon

According to sports medicine experts, complaints of the Achilles tendon increase. Painful inflammation of this strongest and most powerful tendon of the human body is already one of the most common injuries of the lower extremities. Wrong footwear, overuse and general weakness of the tendon are blamed by orthopedic surgeons for Achilles tendon pain. According to an Israeli study, the outside temperature should also have a statistically significant influence on Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles tendon: largest tendon

The reasons for this lie in the anatomy: The Achilles tendon is surrounded by a thin layer of tissue and slides when moving in a kind of tube (tendon sheath) from six to eight membranes. To protect against friction gelatinous compounds, the mucopolysaccharides, are embedded in the tissue layers.

The consistency of the mucopolysaccharides depends on the strength of the tendon: the more lubricious the membranes, the lower the risk of injury. When running, the Achilles tendon has to endure a force of about eight times the body weight. Depending on the stride length of the runner, this power is applied to the tendon 600 to 800 times per kilometer traveled.

Risk of injury increases in winter

The friction-reducing properties of the membranes are largely determined by the outside temperature, according to the Israeli study. About 1, 400 soldiers were trained at different times of the year under the same conditions. In winter, the risk of injury was higher than in summer. The scientists assume that cold makes the mucopolysaccharide layer of the Achilles tendon, which is close to the skin, more viscous. This increases the friction and the risk of injury.

Warming up before exercise, on the other hand, makes the overlay smoother, thus reducing the risk of injury. The tendons are then more resilient. The forum pain therefore advises all athletes to adapt their clothes to the cold outside temperatures and above all to warm up sufficiently.

Achilles tendon: background and history

The Achilles tendon - the name is based on a tradition of Greek mythology: Achilles was, according to legend, dipped by his mother in the water of Styx and should thus become invulnerable. This also worked - until just on the Achilles tendon, which became the Achilles heel for Achilles.

Pain on the Achilles tendon can have different causes. In many cases, an over- or under-stress caused by sports activities or a professional overexertion. Furthermore, complaints on the Achilles tendon are favored by signs of wear (degeneration). Other possible causes may be an imbalance of muscle strength in the lower leg muscles (foot lifters are too weak, calf muscles strained and shortened) as well as foot deformities.

In any case, the cause should be clarified by a doctor with permanent pain. This is also important in order to prevent possible misalignments by keeping the body.

Achilles tendon: pain while walking

If you think about the fact that the simple body weight affects the feet during normal walking, one can imagine which forces act on the Achilles tendon during jogging. So it is not surprising that among the injuries that runners to bones, joints, muscles or tendons, the complaints on the Achilles tendon now take - even before knee injuries - the first place.

If you jog a lot, it can easily cause Achilles tendon inflammation. The tendon then feels warm, is thick and there is significant pain. An Achilles tendon tear usually occurs when a weakened tendon is increasingly jerky loaded.

Tips for runners

  • Training errors, inappropriate footwear and poor ground are common causes of problems with the Achilles tendon. Short sprints, quick changes of direction, excessive hill training should therefore be avoided.
  • Runners who suffer from pronation (their feet turn too far when they appear) are very prone to inflammation of the Achilles tendon. To correct the pronation, good running shoes - specifically motion control shoes - are important.
  • For problems with the Achilles tendon better swimming or cycling - no weight training and avoid any pain-causing stress.
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