Why does jumping rope lead to Achilles tendon pain?

Jump Rope Achilles Pain

The Achilles tendon is considered the strongest tendon in the human body, but it is frequently injured. In fact, about 24% of athletes experience Achilles tendon injuries. This is because the tendon is a crucial part of movements like running and jumping. If overused, it can become inflamed and even rupture.

High-impact exercises like jumping rope can place repeated stress on your Achilles tendon, especially if you neglect to stretch beforehand. If you notice pain around your Achilles tendon while jumping rope, then you might be experiencing symptoms of tendinitis. 

It’s important to address your Achilles tendon pain as soon as you can to avoid long-lasting damage and chronic pain. Treatment options like physical therapy can help you manage symptoms such as swelling and pain safely and effectively.

What is Achilles tendinitis?

Your Achilles tendon connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. You engage your Achilles tendon during daily activities like walking, running, standing on the balls of your feet and jumping. 

While doing exercises that require repetitive jumping, like in the case of jumping rope, your Achilles tendon can experience additional pressure as your feet repeatedly slam the ground. Over time, frequent pressure and stress can lead to tendon damage like partial tears.

Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis

Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis can include the following: 

  • Swelling at the back of your heel. 
  • Pain when you walk or run. 
  • Heel pain in the morning.
  • Warmth and redness around your Achilles tendon. 
  • Tight calf muscles. 
  • Limited foot mobility. 
  • Stiffness at the back of your heel in the morning. 
  • Difficulty standing on the balls of your feet. 

2 Achilles tendinitis types that may be causing your symptoms

If you like to jump rope for exercise but start to notice any of the above symptoms around your Achilles tendon, then you may be suffering from Achilles tendinitis. It’s important to note that there are two distinct types of Achilles tendinitis: 

  • Insertional Achilles tendinitis — This type of tendinitis occurs at the lower portion of your tendon, around your heel bone. Your swelling and redness may be concentrated at the end of your heel.
  • Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis — This type of tendinitis occurs in the middle of your tendon. Athletes who injure their Achilles tendon often experience this type of tendinitis, as the middle of the tendon sustains the most stress from high-impact exercises like jumping rope or running. 

If you feel sharp, sudden pain at the back of your leg for long periods of time or have difficulty walking, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. On the other hand, if your Achilles pain remains a dull ache and only sharpens when performing high-impact activities like jumping rope, you may be able to treat it with noninvasive, at-home remedies.

What can I do to ease pain in my Achilles tendon connected to jumping rope?

If jumping rope is one of your main exercises, feeling Achilles tendon pain during a session can be frustrating. One of the best things to do for tendinitis is rest. If you ignore the pain, the condition can get worse or may even lead to a greater tear or a rupture, which can require medical assistance. If you notice that your condition isn’t getting any better, physical therapy can help speed up your recovery. Physical therapy can help by:

  • Reducing inflammation —  Achilles tendinitis inflammation can be painful and make it difficult to perform daily activities like jumping and running. Physical therapists can prescribe therapy modalities designed to encourage blood flow to your inflamed tendon, decrease muscle tightness, reduce swelling and gently encourage your tendon to heal.
  • Strengthening your tendon — Physical therapists can prescribe exercises that target your Achilles tendon and the surrounding muscles, all with the goal of promoting healing and preventing further damage.
  • Increasing flexibility and mobility — Achilles tendinitis can lead to inflammation like swelling and redness, making movement difficult. Physical therapists can apply manual therapy techniques that stretch your Achilles tendon and encourage joint movement so that you can jump rope with greater flexibility and less pain.

In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary if noninvasive treatments don’t offer relief, or if your Achilles tendon is severely damaged or completely severed. Recovery from this surgery can take six to nine months. While physical therapy can help you avoid the need for surgery, your doctor may recommend surgery as a viable treatment plan. Your physical therapist can help prepare you for surgery and can help speed up your recovery process. 

Suffering from Achilles pain? Specialists in Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation can help

A physical therapist can help guide you through low-impact alternative exercises to jumping rope that can help ease the tension in your Achilles tendon while you’re still healing. Our clinicians at Specialists in Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation are experts in treating Achilles tendon conditions. We are prepared to build you a personalized treatment plan that helps ease your tendon pain and expedites your tendinitis recovery. 

Contact us today for more information about jumping rope and Achilles pain or to schedule an initial appointment.