Running Injuries – The Big Five Series – Achilles Tendonitis

By Terri Burgess

As triathletes we place a heavy load on our bodies often not having the luxury of recovery time enjoyed by athletes training for a single discipline. Of all the activities we take part in it is running that places by far the greatest strain on our muscles, tendons and joints. Teri Burgess, Physiotherapist has named the five most common running injuries “The Big Five”.

Achilles tendonitis
Definition: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon.The Achilles is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (that is tendinitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.

Symptoms: Dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel. limited ankle flexibility redness or heat over the painful area a nodule (a lumpy build-up of scar tissue) that can be felt on the tendon a cracking sound (scar tissue rubbing against tendon) with ankle movement.

Causes: Tight or fatigued calf muscles, which transfer the burden of running to the Achilles. This can be due to poor stretching, rapidly increasing distance, or over-training excessive hill running or speed work, both of which stress the Achilles more than other types of running.
Inflexible running shoes, which, in some cases, may force the Achilles to twist.
Runners who overpronate (feet rotate too far inward on impact) are most susceptible to Achilles tendinitis


From – A Time-to-Run – Your on-line running information magazine

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Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.