New systematic review Identifies risk factors for achilles tendonitis.
Elite running athletes have a 52% lifetime risk of developing achilles tendonitis; however, about a third of all patients with achilles tendonitis also have a sedentary lifestyle. This suggests that there may be many risk factors for developing achilles tendonitis.
According to a 2019 systematic review the following factors increase one’s risk of achilles tendonitis1:
- Prior lower extremity fracture or tendonitis
- Moderate alcohol use
- Training in cold weather
- Reduced calf strength
- A gait pattern that includes less propulsion
- Increased pronation
- Use of antibiotics (ofloxacin)
We have always suspected that there are other potential risk factors such as
- Elevated body mass index
- Flat footedness
- Physical activity levels
However, there is currently no scientific evidence that they are associated with achilles tendonitis.
Based on this high level of evidence, recommendations for achilles tendonitis treatment and prevention would be to affect these modifiable risk factors by reducing alcohol intake, avoiding ofloxacin if alternatives are available, strengthening the calf.
See your evidence based physiotherapist to identify any movement patterns or weaknesses that may be contributing to your achilles tendonitis and for the best strengthening exercises to address it.
- van der Vlist, A. C., Breda, S. J., Oei, E. H., Verhaar, J. A., & de Vos, R. J. (2019). Clinical risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2018.
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