Regular moderate aerobic exercise, as running, offers many benefits, but it may also cause musculoskeletal injuries, often in the lower limbs. Among them, injuries on the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinopathy) are one of the most common and challenging issues related to running.
Talking about running, the marathon is one of the most popular distances. It implies a series of repetitive cyclic movements whose cumulative load has effects on the Achilles tendon that are not clear yet.
A recent article studied ten male non-elite runners, whose tendon structure was checked with ultrasounds before running the marathon, and 2 and 7 days after the race. The main finding was:
- The structure of the Achilles tendon did not change 2 days after the marathon. However, 7 days postmarathon, changes were identified at the insertion and midportion of the tendon. At this time postmarathon additional running activities had been performed, influencing the recovery of the tendon structure.
Although the study was limited because of the small number of participants and their variability, its main conclusion points out to the importance of an appropriate recovery period to prevent overuse injuries such as tendinopathy.
Don’t forget that rest is an important part of training, even more after running a marathon. Sometimes less is more.
Running a Marathon-Its Influence on Achilles Tendon Structure. Rabello LM, Albers IS, van Ark M, Diercks RL, van den Akker-Scheek I, Zwerver J. J Athl Train. 2020 Feb;55(2):176-180. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49-19.