Kendo and Achilles Tendinopathy
Kendo, the way of the sword, is the traditional Japanese martial arts of sword-fighting. Kendo practitioners use bamboo swords, wear protective armour and practise on bare feet. Kendo techniques include strikes, thrusts and responses to these attacks. At high level competition, the window of opportunity to strike open only for a split second, so being always ready on your feet to pound on the attacking opportunity is very important. As a result, having good strength and power in the lower limbs, especially in the calf muscles, are highly advantageous to allow one to jump further and more powerfully. As Kendo places a lot of stress and strain to the lower legs, naturally, injuries to this area also happen more frequently in Kendo.
Below are some risk factors for kendo and achilles tendinopathy:
– Sudden increase in training load.
– decreased calf muscle strength.
– Abnormal foot positioning with foot incorrectly turning outward which decreases the efficiency for forward propulsion.
– Training during cold weather without adequate warm-up.
– Prior lower limb injury.
Physiotherapy treatments for Achilles tendinopathy include modifying the training load, progressively tendon loading and muscle strengthening exercises, correcting biomechanical deficiency and a proper setup for optimal training environment.
For acute pain, your physiotherapist may suggest that you apply ice and take anti-inflammatory medications as well as wear supportive shoes with heel wedge during daily activities to reduce the strain on the Achilles tendon.
Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor and Kendo Enthusiast