November 2013

Leg mechanics, training conditions may predict Achilles pain in runners

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Emily Delzell

Investigators at the University of Tuebingen in Germany have identified alterations in lower leg mechanics and higher impacts caused by “fast” training conditions (e.g., interval training sessions, competitions) as potential risk factors for Achilles tendon pain in runners.

The German research­ers recruited runners aged 18 to 55 years with no running injuries in the last six months and performed clinical exams, isometric strength measurements, and 3D kinematic analysis. Participants were asked to keep a training diary weekly for one year and investigators repeated testing if a runner sustained a running-
related overuse injury.

One hundred forty-two runners kept training information as instructed; of these, 10 developed Achilles tendon pain. These runners had decreased knee flexor strength and altered sagittal plane knee and ankle kinematics at baseline compared to matched controls, and reported a slight shift from slow to fast training sessions and an increase in exercise in the month prior to injury.

The results were e-published by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports on October 31.


Hein T, Janssen P, Wagner-Fritz U, et al. Prospective analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors on the development of Achilles tendon pain in runners. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2013 October 31. [Epub ahead of print]

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