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.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

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

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Feb 03, 2017
Muscle growth and tight tnedons
by: Anonymous

For what it's worth, as I'm not an expert, but speaking from my own personal experience as an endurance athlete.

My body type is one that seems to be able to grow muscle mass quite easily so in the past when I also had been on high protein (very low carb) diets, I found that after a few weeks there seemed to be added strain and tightness in my muscles and in turn on my tendons leading to various tendonitis bouts.

This diet was great for getting lean, but not so good for inronman training. My body type seems to function best on a minimal protein, high carbohydrate diet.

Just my "food for thought" ;)


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.


A. Everybody's different, gotta find what works for you best.

B. Connective tissue is a factor we don't really think about. CT wraps each muscle fiber, bundle of fibers, and muscle, and the muscle again, and everything else.

Muscle growth can stretch those wrappings, which helps put pull on the sheets of CT, which pulls on everything including tendons...which is a factor in tendonitis symptoms.

Feb 17, 2018
No carb
by: Anonymous

Utterly convinced low carb diets cause tendonitis and chronic tendinosis (coming from experience) with endurance training.


Joshua Comments:


What Is Tendonitis?


Apr 22, 2019
High Protien Tendonitis
by: Anonymous

Hi tried high protien diet, and i couldnt walk after a week, both my heels were swollen, killer pain, human body in NOT to have too much protein period. too much meat is also bad for diabetes which i have.



'Too much meat is bad for diabetes' is an absurd claim. Certainly not backed by science.

You may have made your gout worse or something, but eating more meat didn't cause your heels to swell.

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