Achilles tendonitis

Hampton House

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common, painful disorder.

The Achilles tendon is the one that attaches muscles from the back of the lower leg to the heel. This tendonitis usually affects runners,

ballet dancers and other athletic individuals, but not always. It can cause considerable disability even in sedentary people.

There exists considerable "scientific" dogma declaring that overuse causes Achilles tendonitis and many other tendon problems such as

tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis. Overuse may be a factor, but in my view is not likely the actual CAUSE of the condition.

Pain is almost invariably a major symptom so one would reasonably expect to find inflammation affecting the painful areas of

However, a study performed by Swedish researchers Astrom et al ( "Chronic Achilles tendinopathy. A survey of surgical and histopathologic findings.")
biopsied the Achilles tendons of 163 patients with tendonitis.

Interestingly they reported only degenerative changes in the tendon such as abnormal fibre structure and vascular proliferation, but, unexpectedly, there was no inflammation present. In fact they said, "Important features are a lack of inflammatory cells and a poor healing
response." These are signs of a poor immune response which suggests suppression of the individual's immune status.

Therefore, one needs to look for another cause of the athletes' pain and loss of function. It appears to me that auto-immunity (the body's immune system attacking and damaging its own normal tissues) is more than likely the underlying cause of tendonitis, which is then AGGRAVATED by

physical activity.

How can this happen?

We know that chronic stress, both physical and psychological can increase the level of natural steroids circulating in the bloodstream. This can significantly suppress the body's immunity which may then lead to an auto-immune reaction. The targets for these attacks can include any of the body tissues, but it appears there is a predilection for specific sites e.g. the thyroid gland, the anal mucosa (anal fissure), the plantar fascia, the groin (osteitis pubis), tennis elbow and of course, the Achilles tendon.

How do I know this?

Since 1995 I have seen many long-standing cases of the abovementioned conditions (and more) that were totally unresponsive to numerous physical
treatments, but which recovered, sometimes dramatically, to application of wheatgrass extract. Wheatgrass can act as a potent immunomodulator and possibly eliminates pain by inhibiting hormones such as Substance P that are responsible for the sensation of pain. It may also modify any autoimmune reactions affecting the tendon.

One case in point was a middle-aged female who suffered from bilateral plantar fasciitis for 20 years yet became pain free overnight using wheatgrass? Impossible? Not at all, it happened to one of my patients. There have been numerous others. For some unknown reason, Achilles tendonitis usually takes longer to respond than other types of tendonitis, but if one perseveres, wheatgrass can often do the job when nothing else works.

Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.