achilles tendon irritation

achilles’ tendon irritation

The achilles’ tendon, the final tendon of the calf muscle, is the strongest human tendon. The name decreases to the antique Greek hero Achilles who was killed by an arrow in his only vulnerable place – the heel.
In sports like skateboarding – on hard subsoil and with jerky moves – the Achilles tendon is exposed to immense forces.

Typical for an Achilles’ tendon irritation is a pain when getting up in the morning, right at the beginning of your skate session and then again after skating for a few hours. The tendon tissue is often swollen and hurts if you pinch it. Having an acute irritation you can even feel a little crunch when lifting and lowering the foot. If the Achilles’ tendon irritation becomes chronic, it often comes to a piston-shaped swell. A chronic Achilles’ tendon irritation is no joke: Painless skateboarding is not possible for months and the danger of an Achilles’ tendon tear or torn rises drastically.


IMPORTANT: The self-treatment described below is based on personal, positive experience! If your Achilles’ tendon irritation is very painful or tedious or if you even have an Achilles’ tendon tear, please see a doctor immediately!

A doctor can prescribe effective anti-inflammatory medicine or cortisone injections. Nevertheless you should rely on the selfhealing forces of your body – this may often be less comfortable than taking a few pills but is healthier (and cheaper) in the long run!

Do not use heelwedges: Though these orthopedic insoles alleviate the acute pain by relieving the calf musculature they are contraproductive in the long run. The calf muscle shortens and hence the Achilles’ tendon hurts even more when skating.

The main reason for a skateboarder’s Achilles’ tendon irritation might be simply too much shredding – e.g., during a roadtrip or when filming last hammers and bangers close to your skatevideo deadline.
Hence the first mandatory measure has to be a relief of the Achilles’ tendon by – sorry! – LESS SKATEBOARDING! Take a few days off! Meanwhile you can cut the video footy of that roadtrip…

As soon as you feel less pain, you can stress the Achilles’ tendon a bit by riding a bike, swimming or romantic evening strolls with your significant other. If you start skating again do not jump  large gaps right at the beginning – cruise the bowl and carefully increase the intensity from skate session to skate session.

Another main reason for an Achilles’ tendon irritation can be the shortening of your calf muscle. Sitting in front of the computer, the tube and in the car all day the whole rear leg musculature shortens. This leads to permanent dragging in the Achilles’ tendon.

Therefore, you should stretch the calf muscle with the following exercises as much as possible:

a) Simply stretch your legs and let your feet go in circles when sitting at the desk or in front of

b) Walk slowly rolling your feet from the heels to the toes. With every step slightly bend your knees – this strengthens the shinbone musculature and stretches the calf musculature.

c) Climb stairs slowly and put only your bale on the steps. Then hold and stretch your leg before taking the next step.

d) Walk as much barefoot as possible.

You should also strengthen the shinbone musculature, for example with this little exercise:

Slowly walk in circles – 3-6 rounds to the left and then the same amount to the right and do the following:

a) make small steps and unroll slowly from the heels to the toes
b) walk only on your bales and toes
c) walk on your heels, trying to raise your toes as high as possible
d) walk on your insteps
e) walk on your outsteps

You can actually do something against your Achilles’ tendon irritation every evening in front of the tv: Carefully massage your calf musculature and Achilles’ tendon – Jules Winnfield style! Go top down, approx. 10-15 minutes per calf. Thus you can promote blood circulation in the musculature and fasten the healing.

Physical work like cleaning your car or building a new miniramp in your backyard, but also playing pool or darts is generally beneficial to heal an Achilles’ tendon irritation. With many physical activities your body gets into positions which automatically stretch the affected musculature!

+ take a break for regeneration
+ swimming, cycling, going for a walk
+ playing an easy game of S.K.A.T.E. , cruising the miniramp
+ heaps of stretching (or even yoga if you are a guru)
+ light weight work-outs for your abs, back, legs and feet
+ massages
+ physical work
+ playing pool, darts or table tennis

– abduction and disregard of regeneration
– jumping stairs and gaps on your skateboard
– too much seated activity on the computer, in the car or in front of the tv