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Any sport that has you running or jumping, or if you include these in your prep for them, has the potential for achilles tendon problems. It is not uncommon for people to think that they have an issue with an achilles tendon and for it to be a different tissue in the area. The pain actually being in the  toe flexors or posterior tibialis both of which sit in front of the achilles but these can be easily ruled out during the initial examination . Once it is established that it is an achllies problem we can begin work on addressing it. We now use the term tendinopathy instead of tendonitis as recent research has shown that there are rarely any inflammatory changes in the tendon.

What are we talking about when we are discussing the windlass mechanism with regards to the foot? The windlass mechanism is an integral part of normal foot mechanics and gets the name from the similarity to that of the windlass in sailing where it describes the pulley system used to raise and lower sails. In the foot the action is created by the plantar fascia, the band of strong, thick connective tissue that spans the base of the foot from the calcaneus to the toes, as it stretches around the metatarsal heads when the foot comes into dorsi flexion during the propulsive phase of the gait cycle.

I've mentioned in the blog before the idea of different foot strikes when you are running be they forefoot, midfoot or rear foot. A rear foot or heel strike tends to get a bad press, especially when the idea of running barefoot was at it's peak yet there is nothing wrong with running with a heel strike vs mid or forefoot and most of us will tend towards a heal strike until we are running at a sufficiently high pace. You will also tend to see even faster runners or those who tend towards a mid/forefoot strike moving towards a heel strike as they tire, most noticeable during longer races such as marathons or the running portion of an IronMan.

This is a really interesting podcast from The Well Rounded Athlete. It is a discussion with Dr Jim Afremow and whilst it is looking at things from the point of view of athletic performance you could apply the principles to all walks of life. Dr. Afremow is a leading mental performance consultant, and the author of The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive