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Collagen Peptides Plus Calf Exercise May Help Runners With Heel Pain

Heel pain can be a persistent problem in people who run regularly, preventing them from exercising. A recent study suggests that a combination of oral supplementation of collagen peptides and calf exercise may help people with heel pain return to running.


Participants in the study included 18 people who had either uni- or bilateral Achilles tendon tenderness of palpation. Half of the group was given 2.5 g of powdered, hydrolyzed specific collagen peptides for three months before switching to 2.5g of maltodextrin as a placebo for three more months. The other half of the group took the placebo first, followed by the supplement. All of the participants also followed a series of calf-strengthening exercises.


Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment–Achilles (VISA-A) questionnaires and microvascularity measurements through contrast-enhanced ultrasound were obtained at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months.


After three months of supplementation, the first group had a 12.6 increase in their VISA-A score, compared to a 5.3 increase in the second group while taking the placebo.After crossing over, the first group taking the placebo had only a 5.9 increase in their VISA-A score, compared to a 17.7 increase in the second group after taking the supplement. In addition, at the conclusion of the study 12 of the 18 participants were able to return to running.


Researchers from the Australian Institute of Sport led the study. It was published on January 2, 2019, in the journal Nutrients.

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