Some injuries are worse than others. While all injuries feel like “the worst thing ever” while you’re in the thick of it, there are a few things that make an injury exponentially worse. Sure, ignoring your pain is a sure-fire way to ruin your running for months, but there’s another delineation that you may have no considered.
Our blood is the transport system for cleanup, repair, and maintenance. Our vessels shunt blood to areas of need during and after activity. The former is to make the system (your muscles) go, while the latter is for repair. The truth is, some tissues have better blood flow (vascularity) than others.
For example, at the simplest form, our muscles pull oxygen from the blood to contract and cause movements. Because of this need for oxygen, we generally find better blood flow in our muscles. It’s common to see quicker and more complete healing our muscles – it’s not too farfetched to assume that blood flow has a role.
But what about other non-contractile tissues? Take your Achilles Tendon for example. Like all other tendons, your Achilles is a non-contractile tissue that anchors muscle to bone. Like all tendons, your Achilles needs blood to survive–not function. A 1998 study found that the Achilles Tendon has poor blood supply as determined by the small concentration of blood vessels.1
Clinically, this often equates to (much) slower healing and recovery times.
Here’s a list of some common “slow healers:”
- High Hamstrings Tendinitis
- Patellar Tendinitis
- Achilles Tendinitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
I’ll cover plantar fasciitis in upcoming videos, but for now, scroll below and find a quick video on #3 — the Achilles Tendon. This is a common and terribly slow healing injury. Let me know in the comments if you have questions!
If you’re looking to tackle any of these issues, your number one goal should be to improve strength, tackling hip and core strength first.
Build Runner-Specific Strength
Steve’s 20-30 minute strength workouts are just what you need to run faster and fight injury.
1. Ahmed IM, Lagopoulos M, McConnell P, Soames RW, Sefton GK. Blood supply of the Achilles tendon. J Orthop Res. 1998 Sep; 16(5):591-6.