Pain: Achilles tendonitis

What is Achilles tendonitis?

It is a common, painful disorder caused by inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which attaches the muscles from the back of the lower leg to the heel as shown here:

area of pain due to Achilles tendonitis

Tendonitis is common among runners, ballet dancers and many other athletes. However, it can also cause considerable disability in sedentary and elderly people. The cause of the condition is not only due to injury though. Sometimes the pain just suddenly appears for no reason.

The red area in the illustration shows where pain and tenderness of the tendon usually occurs.

"Scientific" opinion suggests that Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse as are other tendon injuries such as tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis ("painful heel"). However, it is unlikely that physical stress is the only cause of the condition. Because pain is a major symptom, one could reasonably expect to find inflammation at the painful area(s). However, according to Swedish researchers, Astrom et al, who biopsied the Achilles tendons of 163 tendonitis patients and examined them under the microscope. To their amazement, there was no sign of inflammation. See "Chronic Achilles tendinopathy. A survey of surgical and histopathologic findings."

All they discovered were degenerative changes in the tendon such as abnormal fibre structure and marked growth in small blood vessels. Strangely, there was also "a lack of inflammatory cells and a poor healing response". 

These are not signs one would expect, so what caused them?

I believe the pain is due to the body’s immune system attacking and damaging its own tissues - a so-called “autoimmune reaction”.

Prolonged stress, physical or psychological, can lead to an increased level of natural corticosteroids circulating in the bloodstream. It seems they then suppress the body’s immune status, pre-disposing it to auto-immune damage. Other targets for these attacks include the thyroid gland (thyroiditis), the anal mucosa (anal fissure), the sole of the foot (plantar fasciitis), the groin (osteitis pubis), and tennis elbow.

How do we prevent or cure these conditions?

I have seen many of these conditions recover after applying wheatgrass extract over the painful area once or twice a week. This is most likely due to Substance P, the main pain transmitter in the body, being prevented from reaching the brain by the wheatgrass extract.

Therefore, wheatgrass extract should be applied over injury-prone areas before and after physical activity as well as on all painful areas. It can be very effective.

Read how wheatgrass probably heals.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.

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