What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles Tendonitis, also known as Achilles Tendinopathy, is an overuse injury affecting the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. It was previously thought to be inflammatory, however recent research has identified that it is a degenerative condition of the tendon.
Achilles Tendonitis is most commonly seen in runners and jumpers due to the additional stresses placed on the Achilles tendon and the repetitive nature of these activities.
If not treated early, it can become very disabling taking months to recover or can lead to a full-thickness tendon rupture (snapping of the tendon).
Signs & Symptoms
- pain and tenderness of the Achilles tendon
- tendon stiffness, particularly in the mornings after activity
- a painful swelling or lump in the tendon may be present
- calf muscle weakness and pain with stretching
- pain with running, jumping, and stairs/steps
- constant pain and discomfort as the condition becomes more severe
What causes it?
Achilles Tendonitis is caused by an overuse of the calf muscles where micro-tears gradually lead to “wear and tear” of the Achilles tendon. There are a number of factors which may increase your risk of develop this injury, including:
- excessive pronation (flat feet)
- a sudden increase in your training volume or intensity
- a change in training surfaces, including sand or hills
- poor flexibility in your ankle joint
- tightness or weakness of the calf muscles
- poor running technique or inappropriate footwear
How can we help?
- Soft Tissue Massage to improve flexibility in your ankle and calf muscles. This will be combined with a home-based Stretching Program.
- Acupuncture / Dry Needling for pain relief and to release painful trigger points.
- Mobilisations / Manipulations (Adjustments) of the ankle and foot joints to help correct movement patterns with running.
- Develop a Strengthening Program to increase your ankle and calf muscle strength.
- Foot & Shoe Assessment to identify if your feet are contributing to your injury.
- Orthotics can be prescribed, if appropriate.
- Perform a Treadmill Running Analysis to identify if your running technique may be contributing to your Achilles pain. Gait Retraining may be required to help reduce your symptoms.
- Address any Training Errors. This will involve examining your current and future training schedule and advising you on an appropriately modified training program. We may recommend alternate forms of exercise to maintain your cardiovascular fitness during this period.
Is your Achilles pain stopping you from running like you use to? Are you worried you will soon have to give it up altogether? Research shows that physiotherapy is proven to be an effective way of treating Achilles pain.
See an expert at Spine & Sports Physiotherapy now to get back on track to running at your best and free of pain or injury!!!