Tendinopathy in Runners
One of the most common type of injuries I see within the Running Community, are related to tendons, this is generally known as tendinopathy (basically pain in the tendon). Tendons attach muscle to bone and have the potential to store energy for explosive power, as well as do many other cool things!
If we increase our training load too quickly, you are more likely to increase your risk of tendinopathy, others may be prone to tendon-related injuries through other medical issues.
In clinic I like to start by eliminating any 'red flags', from there, I then have a mental checklist when talking to the Runner:
Previous Running History? Are you new to it? Coming back into it? General Running Cycle / Pattern
Changes in Training Programme? Do you have one? Goals? Weekly Mileage over the last 6-8 weeks? Errors?
Stressors / Changes within the Runners Lifestyle? New Baby, New Job, Changes at work, Changes in Family Dynamics, Worries etc.
Strength & Conditioning? What else do you do? Gym? Bike? Swim? Yoga? Exercise Classes?
Running Gait? Including Cadence, Variety of Speeds, Form, Potential Form Compensations.
All of these are factors that may affect tendon health.
If you're able to identify the factor, this will help you to get back to running quicker, as well as helping to reduce your risk of tendinopathy in the future.
Ensure that you don't increase your weekly mileage by more than about 15% (to be more specific, there are other options such as the ACWR, Acute: Chronic Workload Ratio) but a general 15% is a good rule to go on.
Strengthen the muscles to cope with the load / capacity from running
Listen to your body, and think about your other lifestyle factors: Sleep, Nutrition, General Mood
If you are already suffering from tendinopathy, seek medical advice, or follow these simple steps to get back into training:
- Reduce load by 50%, continue to run
- Don't Stretch, this can compress and aggravate the tendon more
- Start strengthening the muscles, and loading the tendons.
- Keep pain to a minimum, don't 'poke the bear' to more than a 5/10.
- Keep a Pain/discomfort diary. I'd encourage this to be a measurable outcome with a few comments.
- Morning you wake up,
- During the Run,
- After the Run,
- 24-48 hours after
e.g. 7am 4/10 stiff-like feeling in the middle of the Achilles.