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Supplements that can help for Achilles tendonitis

Updated: 3 days ago

Athletes who struggle with Achilles tendon pain from Achilles tendonitis may benefit from taking a mixed supplement of Vitamin C and either gelatine or hydrolysed collagen. Remember, if you need help with an Achilles injury, you're welcome to consult one of our team via video call.

Supplements that can help achilles tendinopathy.

The terms tendinitis, tendonitis, tendinosis, and tendinopathy mean the same thing for all practical purposes, and we use these interchangeably in most of our articles.

In this article:

  1. Collagen in the Achilles tendon

  2. What’s the difference between gelatine and hydrolysed collagen?

  3. How much supplement do you need?

  4. How we can help

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Collagen in the Achilles tendon

Your Achilles tendon is mainly made of collagen. Collagen is made of very dense, strong fibres – think of the sinewy white bits in meat that is difficult to chew. (Sorry, I don’t know how else to describe it!)

A strong tendon has densely packed collagen fibres that are stiff under strain. Collagen in turn is made up of specific amino acids that are linked together.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen production and reduce oxidative stress. Our cells in our bodies are constantly dying off and being replaced by new ones. Oxidative stress can cause cells to die more frequently than normal. By reducing the oxidative stress, Vitamin C protects your collagen cells (that’s why it’s called an antioxidant).

Gelatine and hydrolysed collagen

When the body digests gelatine and hydrolysed collagen, it breaks them down into the specific amino acids that collagen is made of. There’s evidence that supplementing with these substances can increase healthy tendon growth.

A recent study also found that injured athletes with Achilles tendinopathy recovered more quickly when they used a hydrolysed collagen supplement in combination with a carefully graded strength training programme compared to athletes that followed only the strength training programme.

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What’s the difference between gelatine and hydrolysed collagen?

They contain the same amino acids, but hydrolysed collagen can dissolve in both cold and hot water and appears to be easier to digest. This may explain why the study that used gelatine used 15 g vs. the 2.5 g of hydrolysed collagen. Another difference is that gelatine gels when prepared while hydrolysed collagen does not.

How much supplement do you need?

There isn’t enough research available yet to give you a definitive answer, but what they did in the two most recent studies suggest the following.

  • Take the supplement between 30 to 60 minutes before you do Achilles loading exercise (e.g. running or heel raises). This gives it enough time to be absorbed into your blood stream, ready to be used.

  • Take 48 mg of Vitamin C.

  • Don’t use both gelatine and hydrolysed collagen – choose one!

  • If you use gelatine, put 15 g in your mixture.

  • If you use hydrolysed collagen, 2.5 g appears to be enough.

Please not that I’m not a dietitian and that these recommendations may not be right for you.

How we can help

Need help with your Achilles injury? You’re welcome to consult one of the team at TMA online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.

Meet the TMA physios

We're all UK Chartered Physiotherapists with Master’s Degrees related to Sports & Exercise Medicine. But at Treat My Achilles we don't just value qualifications; all of us also have a wealth of experience working with athletes across a broad variety of sports, ranging from recreationally active people to professional athletes. You can meet the team here.

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About the Author:

Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist and holds an MSc in Sports Injury Management. You can follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  1. DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, et al. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;6(10):2325967118804544.

  2. Maughan RJ, Burke LM, Dvorak J, et al. IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2018;28(2):104-25.

  3. Praet S, Purdam C, Welvaert M, et al. Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients. Nutrients 2019;11(1):76.

  4. Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross ML, et al. Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016;105(1):136-43.

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