A Correcitve Exercise Specialist’s View of Achillies Tendonitis

Can Corrective Exercise prevent Achilles Tendinitis? How do you think I would answer this:)

About.com says

“Sometimes the tendons become inflamed for a variety of reasons, and the action of pulling the muscle becomes irritating. If the normal smooth gliding motion of your tendon is impaired, the tendon will become inflamed and movement will become painful. This is called tendinitis, and literally means inflammation of the tendon. “

Pretty straight forward definition, what I like about it is it mentions that if “the smooth gliding motion of the tendon is impaired, the tendon will become inflamed.” There are many possible causes for tendinitis such as;

-repetitive strain
-age related tendon changes
-acute strain
-thermal injury
-anatomical causes

In this case…just look at the everted calcaneuous!

This is a posterior view of someone’s left foot who was diagnosed with and treated for Achilles Tendinitis.

You can also see the lateral aspect of the gastrocnemius is hypertonic and hypertrophied compared to the medial aspect. No wonder the Achilles Tendon is inflamed! The bone which it inserts into is not in the correct position and the proximal musculature has developed uneven lines of pull. This could easily be a case of plantar fasciatis, knee pain or back pain but this person was diagnosed with Achilles Tendinitis. “The smooth gliding motion of the tendon is impaired” for sure!!! It is not a problem with the tendon, that is the symptom, it is an alignment and function issue!!!

If an overhead squat assessment (current research being done on OHS assessment
http://www.unc.edu/sportmedlab/research.htm#top1 ) was performed then the patient would have most likely exhibited the left foot turning out and foot flattening out. If would have been helpful to note this first, and begin a corrective exercise program, a preventative one vs. a rehabilitative protocol with pain, time investment, inactivity, insurance fees and frustration.

Corrective exercise may not prevent tendinitis from anatomical variations in bones, but maintaining; posture, joint alignment and neuromuscular control will go a long way to decrease the likely hood of if not prevent an injury such as tendinitis in most cases.

It starts with identifying impairments and then working to improve them. Simple steps like;

Myofascial release for the calves

Myofascial release for the ITB

Static stretching for the lateral gastroc

Single leg balance reach to integrated medial gastroc and posterior tibialis control to a single leg stance

More needs to be said, but hopefully we are at least paying attention to alignment and function. the overhead squat assessment is a great tool to use. It can be as simple (or complex) as watching someone run! Do they line up like they should? Are they wasting energy and putting abnormal strain on tissue?

(Don’t even get me started about the glute medius weakness being demonstrated in this picture!!!)

If a body does not move like it should, do something about it before running a marathon, beginning a quest to lose 20 pounds or trying to get as big as physically possible. Start with the basics and use the basics on a regular basis. ALIGNMENT and FUNCTION. I know that good shoes and proper technique are important but something has to come first, and that is proper HUMAN MOVEMENT.

Only floss the teeth you want to keep and only balance the muscles around the joints you want to use.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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This entry was posted in achilles tendonitis, Eric Beard, injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, running injuries. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Move Better
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Great information. Working with athletes in different phases of training puts me in a position where this information definitely has it’s place. Thanks for the post.

  2. Posted September 6, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

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