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
involvement.

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.