Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition for active people who play tennis, football, netball, or athletes who run recreationally. It is characterised by over-sensitivity of the Achilles tendon and becomes painful with walking, running or jumping. It can also be commonly referred to as Achilles tendinitis or tendinosis.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It is comprised of three muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris) which join together to attach to your heel bone or calcaneus. Any one of these muscles can be a source of the symptoms, as well as various other structures close to the Achilles tendon, so the diagnosis of the exact structures by one of the Sports Physiotherapists at Forefront Physio Geelong is critical.
The symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include:
- Pain in the Achilles tendon or on the heel bone
- Pain with walking, running or jumping
- Weakness with push-off through the calf muscles
- Tightness or tenderness of the calf muscles.
What causes Achilles tendinopathy?
- Overuse of the Achilles tendon
- Inadequate recovery following activity
- Altered foot posture
- Weakness through the calf muscles and tendons
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and excess body weight increase the risk of Achilles tendinopathy
5 Tips to help manage Achilles tendinopathy:
1. Avoid irritating activities
If playing a sport, running, or walking is causing your pain to increase, take some time to let this settle. Continuing to push into pain repeatedly can prolong the time to recover. The amount of rest needed differs from person to person so it is important to speak with your Physiotherapist from Forefront Physio Geelong.
2. Continue with tolerable activities
Complete rest can also increase the time it takes for tendons to heal. Having Achilles tendinopathy doesn’t mean that you need to stop activities that don’t increase the pain. If walking is still tolerable, you don’t need to stop. You may also wish to trial a different pair of shoes to walk in. A simple modification, such as shoes with a slightly higher heel, can help you continue with the activities you enjoy.
3. Reduce your pain
Applying ice and performing some gentle stretches are two things you can do to reduce your pain. Additionally, Forefront Physiotherapists can utilise other treatments such as taping, dry needling and massage to assist in reducing your pain.
4. Build a robust tendon with exercise
Forefront Physiotherapists can identify exercises that are appropriate for your specific pain. Once a baseline is established, our physios will work with you to develop the strength and resilience your tendon needs to work for you, without pain.
5. See your Doctor
Sometimes when Achilles tendinopathy is very reactive it may be necessary to take anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by your doctor. This should be considered a temporary treatment and should always be followed up with the correct physiotherapy rehabilitation.
6. Book an appointment online
Book a physiotherapy appointment online at Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong and get expert assessment and treatment for your Achilles tendinopathies such as massage therapy and dry needling, along with appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises. Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong is experienced in dealing with Achilles pain and strive to restore your function and mobility.