Posted by: Annie | 2008/08/11

Archilles Tendon

I do step classes 3x a week (Tuesdays - Thursdays) My archilles (left one) started getting sore and continues to be sore. (Approx. 2 mths now) The rest of the 4 days I walk for about 8km a day which seems not to bother my archilles. By Monday my archilles feels fine but by the Thursday its sore all over again. I take great care when I do the step classes to place my foot flat on the bench and floor and do not jump down from the bench. (The step classes are held by a instuctor in her garage with wooden benches on steel legs) How do one treat a archilles tendon? I am 42.

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Our expert says:
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HI Annie

It sounds like a classic case of "overuse", in that you're probably just asking too much of that achilles tendon, and the impact and work its doing in those step classes is too much for it to handle. The cause is likely fatigue of the muscles, which means the tendon starts to "carry" a greater load and by Thursday, having gone through 3 step classes plus some walking, it's too much.

So rest is the most obvious thing to do - not complete rest, but rather reduce the number of days by a third. For example, you can do Tuesday and Thursday, miss out Wednesday. Also, I'd cut down the 8km to 6km and maybe take one other day a week off. If you do this, you're cutting the training load by 40% and that might be what it takes to recover.

Then, you can strengthen the tendon using single-leg heel raises. Stand on the edge of a step with your heel over the edge. Raise your whole body up using your ankle and calf muscle. you will probably feel some strain in the calf. Do this 10 times on each leg, and perform 3 sets during the day. If you feel pain, then stop. This type of exercise has been found to be successful in treatment of achilles tendinopathies.

Good luck

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