What is Achilles Tendinopathy ?
Achilles Tendinopathy is usually an overuse injury that is due to repetitive action, common especially with joggers and jumpers. It can also be found in the older population or those in sedentary jobs with a lack of activity.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris) to the heel bone (calcaneus). It has a fundamental role in walking and locomotion in general.
What are the Symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy?
- Achilles tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area.
- The pain may get worse when you use your Achilles tendon.
- The pain often gets less during activity and then worsens again following activity.
- You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
- The Achilles may be tender, red, warm, or a swollen lump may be present if there is inflammation.
- Variable pain. Achilles pain can vary significantly depending upon your exercise load.
Common Causes of Achilles Tendonitis include:
- Over-training or unaccustomed use – “too much too soon”
- Excessive intensity or Distance increase
- Change in training surface – e.g. grass to bitumen
- Lack of training variation
- Poorly supportive footwear.
- Hill running.
Achilles Tendinopathy Risk Factors
- Gender: Men > Women
- Age: >30 most common
- Weight: Higher body weight increases risk
- Calf Muscle: weakness, poor endurance &/or tightness
- Poor Lower Limb Muscle Control: eg Poor hip and knee muscle control
- Stiff Ankle/Foot Joints
How To Treat Achilles Tendinopathy?
Achilles tendinopathy treatment has progressed significantly in recent years. Based on this, it is now more important than ever to be assessed and treated by a physiotherapist who is up-to-date in the latest Achilles tendinopathy research findings and treatment strategies.
There is increasing importance in exercise in the management of tendinopathy. Isometric exercise followed by eccentric exercise, have proven effects at pain relief for athletes suffering from tendinopathy.
How Your Physiotherapist Will Progress Your Treatment?
Tendinopathy treatment is progressed based on your tendon’s ability to withstand exercise load. Your physiotherapist will explain how to interpret your symptoms and plan your exercise loads based upon their assessment and your symptoms.
Exercise load management is vital to the successful treatment of Achilles tendinopathy. Mild load increases will stimulate new tendon growth. Overload leads to tendinopathy deterioration.
When managing load you should be guided by how the tendon responds particularly 24 hours later. Tendons are known to have a latent response to loading.
Novel therapies such as the injection of sclerosing agents, platelet‐rich plasma and autologous blood into diseased tendons have shown potentially promising results, but more clinical trials are needed, so it is still considered experimental at this time. Your physiotherapist is happy to discuss these options with you when they consider them an appropriate treatment option.
Remember, all tendinopathies are different. Please seek the advice of your physiotherapist to determine the best rehabilitation appropriate to your tendinopathy.
Please call us on 07 47282116 or book online if you would like to book in to see one of our Physiotherapists at Physio on Ross.