Who’s at Risk for Achilles Tendon Problems?

by | Apr 26, 2017 | Sports Injuries

Your Achilles tendon is strong for a reason: it has to be. This thick, tough band of tissue connects the powerful muscles of the calf to the heel bone, and therefore needs to be strong enough to withstand both the weight of your body and the force generated by your leg muscles as you walk, run, and jump. Strong isn’t the same as invulnerable, of course, and when the Achilles tendon is damaged it can grind your activities to a halt. Achilles tendon problems include degeneration, swelling, and inflammation. They can also include tearing, leading to variable levels of pain, stiffness, and mobility loss.

Who’s at Risk for Achilles Tendon Problems?

People who tend to be most at risk for all kinds of Achilles tendon problems are those in middle age and beyond, particularly men. Ruptures peak earlier, in the 30s and 40s, while tendinitis risk may continue to rise through the 50s and beyond.

To try to understand this, consider a typical middle-aged adult. At this time in life, people may still enjoy many vigorous hobbies, including running, hiking, and sports. However, at the same time tendons are beginning to lose their strength and flexibility. Furthermore, they may not be quite as well conditioned as they used to be, with more sedentary time during the week (work and other responsibilities) alternating with bursts of recreational activity on open weekends. This creates something of a perfect storm of conditions to increase the risk of an Achilles injury.

Other factors that may increase the risk of injury include:

  • Men are far more likely to sustain an Achilles problem; particularly ruptures. This could be linked to higher sports participation.
  • Structural or gait issues, such as flat feet, put extra stress on the tendon.
  • Medical conditions. Some diseases or conditions, including high blood pressure and psoriasis, are linked to Achilles injuries.
  • As mentioned, high-impact athletic activities put significant stress on the Achilles. “Weekend warriors” who play aggressively during gaps in work schedules are especially susceptible.

Treatment for Hurting Heels and Tendon Pain

If you find yourself squarely in the target demographic—or you’ve struggled with Achilles tendon pain in the past—it’s time to get serious about treatment and prevention. To schedule an appointment with the Kansas Foot Center in Wichita, please call us today at (866) 222-5177.