Hey RMA crew! Hope you had a good week. We are still coming off our Gold Coast high. I know Kokoda is this week, so big shout out to all the RMA people braving the cold (not to mention the 98K) this weekend. Today I wanted to talk about Achilles pain because it can be the absolute pits and it can put you out if you don’t prevent and manage it. Definitely one of the trickiest overuse injuries going round and we have a friend in at the moment who kind of pushed too hard at Oxfam and is now really paying the price. Big thing is to understand Achilles pain so you can prevent it. Sometimes little innocuous mistakes can have fairly severe consequences.

First thing is to get an idea of calf tightness because when they get too tight you put more pressure on Achilles in a number of ways. Firstly through not being able to get over your foot, the heal has to come off quicker because of lack of range. That forces the foot to cheat and compensate by dropping in as you move over it which will torsion the Achilles. So get that right first.

Secondly make sure technique is good. We are always suspicious of our people with Achilles pain that they might be ‘pushers’. That is they are often too upright and don’t have much of a lean. This means they will create movement by muscle power alone. You will often see them ‘pushing’ through the calf as they toe off. The best of the best will be more relaxed through their legs when they run because their position and friction creates the movement, they don’t have to rely so much on actually creating speed with force.

Thirdly check your shoes! Some shoes have a flex point through the front so the foot can easily roll through. Be aware that sometimes a shoe may be too stiff and not have much or any flex point for the forefoot. I always do the flex test where I bend the shoe through that front section. If it’s too stiff the foot is going to have to push that shoe every step. We see it heaps with our people with Achilles pain and if you don’t fix that, you’re going to struggle to get rid of it!

Finally you want to know how to release the muscles leading into the Achilles and I am always aware of the points that can refer pain to that area. Check out this video that takes you through some of the key points. http://www.rifrev.com/running-injury-free/manageachillespain Remember comfy at all times guys!

Have fun no matter where you are running this weekend guys! Talk next week,

Paul Trevethan