The achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle joint. This tendon is a fibrous band that is at the end of each of our muscles to attach them to a bone. In the case of the achilles tendon it is at the bottom of the calf muscle (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) and attaches into our heel bone (calcaneus). The role of the achilles tendon is to aid walking by lifting the heel off the ground. Achilles Tendonitis is referring to pain in this tendon. The correct term is now considered Achilles Tendinopathy, as there is increasing evidence that the achilles tendon pain is due to degenerative changes of the tendon.
Pain can be dull or sharp anywhere along the back of the tendon. It may be tender to touch or there may be a palpable nodule in the tendon that develops. Achilles pain usually starts after a particular high impact or high intensity activity, as such it is classed as an overuse injury. These activities put too much stress on the tendon too quickly. Because of the location of the achilles tendon it causes pain when we walk, stand or hop on the tendon. Therefore daily activities, like walking and taking the stairs, can become difficult. Another major symptom of achilles tendinopathy is early morning stiffness. This will be felt as stiffness in the achilles tendon every morning when you first get up. This early morning stiffness can vary from a few minutes to a few hours.
What to do?
Your Chartered Physiotherapist will assess your lower leg to diagnose the pain and to identify any contributing factors to your pain. Your Chartered Physiotherapist will then treat the lower leg to ease the symptoms you are experiencing, this may include deep tissue release, dry needling and prescription of orthotics (corrective shoe insoles to address any foot biomechanical issues). Footwear can also be a big key in recovery, so make sure you are wearing supportive shoes that are not past their best! Another big part of your treatment will be a rehabilitation programme. It has been shown in research studies that loading the tendon with weight in particular positions repetitively helps the tendon to heal as quickly as possible, thus promoting resolution of the achilles tendon pain.
If you suffer from achilles tendon pain, I can assess you and treat your symptoms at Motion Physio Clinic, Prosperous, 045 841010.