What is Achilles Tendinopathy?
It is a condition that affects the fibers of the Achilles tendon and is generally characterised by pain, thickening of the tendon, tendon breakdown and stiffness. There is usually no redness or warmth of the surrounding tissue, although the area can be painful to touch. Pain is usually located from the back of the heel to the midsection of the Achilles tendon but may occur at any segment of the tendon.
Cause & Symptoms
Achilles tendinopathy is thought to be caused by repeated minor trauma along with a lack of rest or poor recovery time, due to abnormal ankle joint range of motion. Symptoms are most noticeable in the morning or at a resting state and may subside or become a little more bearable with activity. The main symptoms include pain and stiffness over the affected Achilles tendon.
Below are a number of risk factors that may also lead to Achilles Tendinopathy:
- Overuse of the Achilles tendon – This can be a problem for people who run regularly. Also a major issue with sports that require jumping
- Poor training technique
- Inappropriate footwear – uneven/worn out soles
- Poor foot mechanics
- Previous injury
- A change in activity, frequency or intensity
- Training surfaces/terrain
- A lack of flexibility or a tight Achilles tendon may also increase the risk of these injuries
“Achilles Tendinopathy is most commonly caused by abnormal ankle joint range of motion.”
Achilles tendinopathy can weaken the tendon, making it more vulnerable to a tear (rupture) — a severe injury that potentially requires surgical repair.
There are a multitude of different things to consider for optimal treatment:
- Rest from aggravating activities
- Radial Shockwave Therapy
- Ice and heat therapies (alternating)
- Footwear review (by podiatrist)
- Dry needling
- Bracing, heel lifts or taping to unload the calve muscle and tendon
- Customised stretching & strengthening program (by podiatrist)
There are a number of exercises you can do to stretch your Achilles tendon. Here are some of the most popular:
Following are some other exercises you can do. They should be done under the supervision of a health professional, at least initially, as they could damage the Achilles tendon if they’re not done correctly. Exercises can vary, depending on your condition.
Strength and Conditioning
“The goal of your exercises is to prevent injury, but they can be used after you’ve hurt yourself to assist in optimizing recovery.”
Above all, you should always check with your Podiatrist to have treatment plan customised specifically for your condition so you don’t cause further injury.
To optimize daily recovery for patients, our Podiatrists are experts in their field. If you are having pain in the back of your ankles, take a step in the right direction. Make an appointment to kick-start your recovery!
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