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What we’ll cover
  1. Why does running recruit the Achilles tendon so much?
  2. What causes Achilles tendinopathy?

Why does my achilles hurt when I run?

You’ve developed the running bug…

Outdoor exercise is the new Netflix! If you have been down to the local parks or walking tracks, then you would know that Melbourne’s eastern suburbs are booming with keen runners and walkers soaking in the sunshine in a bid to curb their iso-boredom.

For those of you who are new to these types of exercise, you may be at risk of developing overuse injuries, in particular tendinopathy. In this blog, our physiotherapist Michael Scardamaglia will teach you about what tendinopathy is, the signs and symptoms and what this means for your new found love of running or walking. For the purpose of this blog, we are going to talk specifically about one of the most common kinds of tendon pain – Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy presents itself as a localised pain in a specific point in the Achilles, it can cause stiffness in the affected area in the mornings and impact your ability to run, hop and jump. Up to 15% of runners will experience Achilles tendinopathy, but it can just as easily affect sedentary individuals who begin to exercise without the appropriate guidance of where to start.

Why does running recruit the Achilles tendon so much?

There are a few underlying concepts I want to explain to you for this whole blog to make a bit more sense going forward.

Firstly, the load going through your legs when your feet strike the ground during running is around 3-8 x your body weight and your calves take about 60% of that load! This means we need to have really strong structures to both absorb and release that kinetic energy to generate movement.

Secondly, our tendons are unique in that they can shorten and lengthen very quickly thanks to the large amount of elastic collagen fibres in them. In contrast, muscles lack these stiff collagen fibres and therefore contract much more slowly, causing tendons to become the primary driver when a fast contraction is required. This means when our foot strikes the ground during running, our tendons can quickly absorb and release that force as kinetic energy to propel us forward.

Sounds really scientific right? More simply put; our tendons are like springs, and just like springs they can lose their spring-like quality if we don’t treat them right with the appropriate amount of running, coupled with strength training and adequate recovery!

What causes Achilles tendinopathy?

Tendons in general really don’t like change. When we talk about ‘change’ we are referring to the amount of load the tendon is exposed to across a period of time.

Let’s use our regular gym go-er for our example. Our gym go-er is a generally active person, who has recently taken up running to fill the exercise void during the covid times. Previously this individual has done little to no running and has decided to start running 4-5 times per week to replace their gym routine. They start off running 5kms, they are finding it very difficult and tend to pull up quite sore afterwards. After about 3 weeks of this same routine they start to notice some Achilles tendon stiffness in the morning when they wake up, some pain at the beginning of their run and as they cool down their Achilles starts to ache even more. This is a textbook example of Achilles tendon overload resulting in an Achilles Tendinopathy.

If you suspect that you may be experiencing achilles tendinopathy, call our team or book online today.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

You Deserve to Feel Good.

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