Achilles Tendonitis and high protein diets

by Todd D
(Melb Australia)

I started a high protein/low carb diet in late January this year.

By the end of Feb, I had lost about 6 kg. At that time, (late Feb) I also got Achilies Tendonitis for the first time in my life. I didn't know what it was at the time and didn't have it diagnosed till recently.

The only thing I have changed in my life is my diet... no more or less exercise, nothing.

Now I am reading in your article that high protein diets are a CURE as opposed to a cause of tendonitis.

Is this correct? I have NEVER had so much protein in my life before, and my tendonitis seems to be getting worse.

I don't want to stop my High Protein diet if I can help it because it has worked.

I am 50 years old and have now lost 16 kg. I now weigh about 115 kg.


Joshua Answers:

Hey there Todd.

Rock on with the diet!

Are you just doing this to lose weight, or are you working out/training too?

It's safe to say that your increase in protein did not cause the Achilles Tendonitis pain.

It's also safe to say that if you dropped to a low protein diet, it wouldn't go away. (Unless for some odd, rare, and freaky reason your protein supplement or food contains some toxic ingredient that is weakening your tendons. Possible but incredibly unlikely.)

There are many factors to the development and progression of Tendonitis in the Achilles tendon.

Also, see #8 below.

A high protein diet helps prevent damage, helps the body heal damage.

But one of the primary factors of Achilles Tendonosis (degeneration of the softer outer layer of the Achilles tendon) is lack of direct circulation to the tendon.

If the tendon is not getting the blood and nutrients that it needs to stay healthy, it starts to die, literally, and gets pulled apart.

If that is happening, the amount of protein intake really isn't a factor, although obviously less direct circulation equals less protein delivered.

So let's start looking at what else is going on.

We need to get bloodflow to the spot(s) of Tendonosis and Tendonitis so it can begin the process of healing and utilizing all that extra protein.

1. You say you have not changed anything. Is this accurate, as far as workouts, daily activities, etc?

2. Have you done more or less with your legs?

3. Are you primarily lifting weights, or cardio/running, or not working out and generally inactive?

4. What exactly do you do on your feet, both for work and workout.

5. Do you stretch? How much, how little, where?

6. So that we're on the same page, which article specifically are you talking about?

7. Just covering the bases, have you taken any antibiotics lately, like Levaquin, Cipro, Floxin, or any other quinolone class medication?

8. What is your total (general) calorie intake?

If you are on a low calorie combo of protein and carbs, you may be burning up all that extra protein as fuel calories and general tissue maintenance and could actually be short on available protein.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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