Achilles Tendon Pain

 In General, Patient Information, Physiotherapy

with Chris Stanger, Physiotherapist

Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition that can present as an acute or chronic injury. Patients will present with pain in either the mid portion of the Achilles tendon or on its insertion at the base of the heel. Often symptoms will be at their worst in the morning or at the beginning of activity and can โ€œwarm upโ€ during exercise. In acute cases, the mechanism of injury with normally involve a pushing off movement eg. jumping/landing or accelerating while running. This injury can also present with a gradual onset.

What Causes a The main causes are as follows:

  • Sudden increase in training load, especially after period of inactivity
  • Reduced flexibility of calf, stiffness of ankle joint
  • Decreased strength or endurance of calf complex
  • Overpronation (excessive, uncontrolled flattening of the arch of the foot)
  • Inappropriate footwear for certain foot types

Early management of this injury is about taking load off the Achilles tendon to allow pain to settle. This can last for up to 3-5 days and usually involves:

  • Relative rest from aggravating exercise/activity
  • Can apply heat prior to activity, ice at end of day
  • Heel raise in footwear particularly if pain on the base of the heel
  • Supportive footwear

Once symptoms begin to settle, rehabilitation can commence to assist the tendon to heal and avoid future flare ups. This consists of:

  • Progressive strengthening program starting with isometric (static) calf raises
  • This would progress to plyometric exercises such as skipping
  • Addressing flexibility, range of motion deficits by self massage with foam roller
  • Address biomechanical issues ie. overpronation

Research has found that once you develop an Achilles tendinopathy you are more likely to sustain this injury again in the future. To prevent this injury from reoccurring, maintenance of the following is recommended

  • Calf flexibility/ankle range of motion
  • Calf strength and endurance
  • Gradually increasing training loads allowing adequate rest between sessions.

If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our experience Physiotherapists, regarding your Achilles tendon pain, call us on (07) 40513252 or Book Online

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