Achilles pain study offers relief

Achilles pain study offers relief

11 Apr 2011

A new study at the Health Sciences Clinic at La Trobe University has given Asamenew Yeshanew, an Ethiopian-born runner, a new lease on life. For the past two years, Yeshanew has been experiencing pain in his Achilles tendon causing him depression and anxiety.

Running‘I was training very hard before I had to leave the violence in Ethiopia and come to Melbourne. The pain started in my foot, and then reached my leg and I couldn’t run which is what makes me happy,’ says Yeshanew.

With the 2012 London Olympics in sight, Yeshanew, who applied for Australian citizenship two years ago and is currently a permanent resident, hopes to be able to run the marathon during the games. After several years of hardship he has finally found some relief from his pain thanks to an Achilles pain study.

‘When the pain became unbearable, I had to stop running, so I trained at my local gym. One of the trainers noticed my foot was not hitting the ground correctly and suggested I come to La Trobe University to enrol in a study investigating the effectiveness of shoe insoles and calf muscle training in people with Achilles tendon pain,’ Yeshanew says.

Met by Dr Shannon Munteanu from the La Trobe University Department of Podiatry, Yeshanew answered a series of questions in order to participate in the study. Since he had been suffering from Achilles pain for over two months, he was eligible to take part in the free treatment.

‘After an hour assessment with an individual we carefully perform tests to make sure they suffer from Achilles tendinopathy. From there we administer treatment and carefully monitor the participants’ progression over the course of twelve months,’ says Dr Munteanu.

So far, 90 people have participated in Dr Munteanu’s study which has been going on for the past two years. However, the Health Clinic is still looking for volunteers between the ages of 18-55 in order to complete the study.  Study participants are randomly allocated to receive treatment with calf muscle strengthening and one of two types of insoles.

‘Participants in the study have been proactive with treatment and there are notable improvements. The majority of participants have reported their symptoms to be 'moderately improved' or 'much improved,’ he says.

Yeshanew has also felt the benefits of the study after four weeks at the clinic. He is back to running and planning on training in Kenya in June in preparation for the Olympics.

‘I have bought a ticket and am getting ready to train in the tough weather in Kenya. I have been doing the exercises that I was given and have been working on my tendon which makes me happy, because I’m running,’ said Yeshanew.

Dr Shannon Munteanu’s tips for healthy runner’s feet:

•    If you have foot pain that fails to resolve by one week, see a Podiatrist. If you have diabetes, be sure to visit your Podiatrist at least annually for an assessment of your foot health.

•    If you are a runner, ensure that you have your footwear professionally fitted and replace your runners at least every 500km/6 months.

•    Do alternate the surfaces you run on and types of activities (weight bearing versus non-weight bearing) to prevent overuse injuries. Try not to increase your training load by more than 10% per week.


Media Opportunities

If you would like more information or are interested in participating in the study please contact Dr Shannon Munteanu from the Department of Podiatry, La Trobe University


T (03) 9479 5866 E s.munteanu@latrobe.edu.au

For more information please contact:

Meghan Lodwick


Communications Officer
T (03) 9479 5353 E m.lodwick@latrobe.edu.au

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