Gradual Training Preserves Achilles Tendons
The Achilles tendon will have a better chance of surviving downhill running if the runner transitions gradually to that level of running, according to a study by researchers at Brigham Young University. The study was reported by Robert Bredt, a HealthDay reporter.
The study author and former track star Kay Andrews Neves said, “Though there are greater forces placed on your body during downhill running the benefits can outweigh the risks.” The researchers estimated that 52% of distance runners injure their Achilles tendons at some point, according to Bredt.
Neves and her colleagues monitored 20 female runners who ran on a treadmill at a 6% downhill grade and a 6% uphill grade on different days. They found that running on either of the grades put the runners’ Achilles tendons at increased risk for injury.
"Over time, runners adapt to the forces placed on their body, so even when the forces are higher (running downhill), if the adaptation process is gradual, the injury risk drops, " Neves told Bredt. "Our bodies are amazing and are very good at adapting to the conditions we put them in." The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine published the study.