With gyms being closed for months over lockdown many people took to walking or running as their new form of exercise, which is great when done correctly, but unfortunately I am recently seeing an increase in patients at the clinic with achilles pain, so thought I would write this blog on prevention and recovery.
Why do we get achilles pain?
Tendons have a lower blood supply than muscles meaning they don't get the same amount of nutrients and therefore take longer than muscles to repair/grow. Tendons normally cause us discomfort when then are loaded too much too quickly and/or not given enough time to fully recover between sessions.
So what's a safe amount to load a tendon?
Well everyone starting point is going to be different, patient A might be able to complete 10k comfortably during their first run where as patient B might only be able to complete a 2k walk.
The key is progression and recovery.
What ever your starting point do not increase your workouts by more than 10% per week. This doesn’t mean 10%, this means that 10% is the maximum amount you should increase your intensity, to reduce the risk of injury, if you want to do 3%, 5% or anything in-between that’s fine.
Then every 4th week have a de-loading week which is 50% less of your previous week to allow your body to recover.
Running 2 x per week Week 1 - 2km Week 2 - 2.2km Week 3 - 2.4km Week 4 - De-load week 1.2 km (50% of 2.4km = 1.2km)
Now running 2-3 x per week Week 5 - 2.6km Week 6 - 2.9km…. and so on...
What to do is you're already in pain?
First of all I would recommend getting advice from a health progressional for an accurate diagnosis before continuing, but below I have provided a basic step by step video to help with pre/rehabilitation. I suggest aiming to work up to 15 slow repetitions PAIN FREE before moving on to the next phase, and allowing 2-3 days between for recovery depending on severity.
TIP - you can also use this protocol if your not in pain but are looking to strengthen the achilles before getting in to walking/running reducing the chances of injury!
If you have any further questions or would like to book an appointment please don't hesitate to contact me