Injury: Achilles tendonitis

What is Achilles tendonitis?

It is a common, painful disorder caused by inflammation of the 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 even in sedentary people, so the cause of the condition is not only due to injury, so there must be other factors involved. The red area in the illustration shows where pain and tenderness of the tendon usually occurs.

Considerable "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, I doubt physical stress is the only cause of the condition. Because pain is a major symptom of the condition, it would be reasonable to expect inflammation at the painful areas. But, according to Swedish researchers, Astrom et al, who biopsied the Achilles tendons of 163 patients with tendonitis and examined them under the microscope, there was no sign of inflammation. See "Chronic Achilles tendinopathy. A survey of surgical and histopathologic findings."

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

These are not signs one would expect.

What then causes the pain?

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. They then suppress the body’s immune status, pre-disposing it to auto-immune damage. The 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), tennis elbow and of course, Achilles tendonitis.

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 probably due to it preventing pain sensation reaching the brain where pain is "felt". In other words, wheatgrass blocks production of Substance P, (by inhibiting gene expression) the ubiquitous pain neurotransmitter in the body.

Therefore, wheatgrass extract should be applied over injury-prone areas before and after physical activity.

Read how wheatgrass probably heals.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.

>> Return to Cases & Conditions