By Rachael Street, Physiotherapist

Achilles tendon pain is a common complaint I see at the clinic. People often describe “always having had tight calves” and since starting a new activity or type of exercise, have then developed pain in one or both Achilles tendons.

Yes, if the calf muscles are tight, this puts extra load through the Achilles tendon and therefore can cause an irritation of the tendon as it attaches into the heel. But why is the calf so tight?

I like to look at things from both the bottom-up and the top-down. Firstly, if the foot and ankle does not have good biomechanical alignment (eg. feet roll inwards), extra load will be placed upon the calf causing it to get tight and therefore impact the Achilles tendon. Adjustments to footwear or the addition of orthotics may be useful here.

Secondly, if the glutes and core are not working well, in order to control the tracking of the knee with activity, the calf will again overload and cause the Achilles tendon to become painful.

So, the answer to Achilles tendon pain is not only to loosen up the calves, but to decide where the causal factor is coming from and address that!

If this is a familiar story for you, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with me on 834 9901.

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