The Achilles tendon connects our calf muscles to the heel bone and comes into play when we walk, run and jump. Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of this tendon, which causes pain in the back of the leg near the heel. This area can also appear swollen.
The Achilles tendon can withstand a lot of stress, but is prone to inflammation from overuse and degeneration. Achilles tendonitis can also result from wearing poor footwear, increasing activity level dramatically over a short period of time, or from having tight calf muscles that put excessive stress on the tendon during exercise.
Chronic Achilles tendonitis, calf cramping and heel pain all are linked to the same muscle group in the back of the leg, the gastrocnemius and soleus. These muscles are responsible for providing power for the push-off phase of the foot when we walk and creating stability during standing.
Achilles muscle grouping
Achilles tendonitis can make walking the course more difficult or even painful, reduce the power in the golfer's drive, and ultimately result in reduced enjoyment of the game.
Golfers who have tendonitis in their back foot may not be able to build up the necessary power for contact with the ball, resulting in shorter drives.
Factors that may lead to tendonitis in the golfer include not warming up prior to play, poor stretching habits and poor-fitting footwear.
Warming up thoroughly before playing can help prevent the development of tendonitis. Stretching after a round of golf may lessen the amount of stress the calf muscles put on the tendon. Additionally, heel lifts or cushions may provide temporary relief.