With winter sports planning to return as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, it’s vital to ensure that your body is given time to gradually become reacquainted to your previous training loads. This is especially true for your Achilles tendon, a band of connective tissue that attaches your calf muscle to the back of your heel. You rely heavily on the Achilles when you need to transfer load and generate force and power for activities like jogging/running, jumping and perform changes in direction.
Tendinopathy, meaning an injury to the tendon, develops when you suddenly overload your tendons without giving the body adequate time to adjust to new demands, or enough rest periods to allow for adaptation to new activities. Sudden increases in physical activity and training place you at risk of developing tendinopathy, which we often only see once the injury has become recurrent and chronic (not healing after longer than 3 months). Unfortunately, once you are at this stage in the injury, the healing time-frame is 6-12 months as the connective tissue within the tendon takes a long time to restructure and become pain-free. So, the best treatment for Achilles tendinopathy is PREVENTION!
Being wary of this type of injury when resuming increased amounts of physical activity will ensure that you plan your return to training with suitable increases in demands and appropriate periods of rest. It will also mean that if you do start to notice early signs of Achilles tendinopathy you can nip the issue in the bud and stop it becoming a long-term injury.
The warning sign for Achilles tendinopathy in its early stages are stiffness and pain in the Achilles tendon itself or the back of the heel, usually after a period of activity or in the morning. If you are concerned at all, give us a call or book online to see one of our team to develop an early treatment and prevention plan to keep you on the field for the rest of the season!
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