Achilles tendon injuries: how they happen and how to prevent them

Achilles tendon injuries can wipe out your season in seconds. Physio Alan Robb explains the key to prevention


How do Achilles tendon injuries happen?

The Achilles tendon originates from the muscles of the calf, inserting in to the heel bone. Injury can occur through a combination of several factors, such as poor foot and ankle biomechanics and recent changes to training programmes.


How will you know if you have it? You’ll have a pain in the tendon. The onset may be sudden or gradual and is often described as an ‘ache’ or ‘tightness’, but can be more severe. The tendon will be tender to the touch and pain will be worse following exercise.

How can you avoid Achilles tendon injuries?

Create a suitable, steady training schedule and include a stretching programme that involves the use of a foam roller for the calf. Having the correct footwear is also essential. This is best done through seeing a specialist (e.g. physio or podiatrist) to establish your foot and ankle biomechanics. They can then suggest the best trainers for you.


How do you rehab an Achilles tendon injury?

A physio will assess your foot and ankle and look further up the leg and even beyond the hip for possible causes. They’ll also go through other potential causes for your symptoms and assess your running style. Your rehab will include eccentric loading and strengthening programmes as well as stretching exercises and work on your lower limb joint control.

Alan Robb is a physiotherapist with Six Physio

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