What is an Achilles Tendinopathy?
An Achilles tendinopathy is a painful condition affecting the Achilles tendon, the connective tissue that connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris) to the heel bone. Repetitive strain of the Achilles tendon leads to small micro tears within the tendon, causing the tendon to become irritated and painful.
Factors that may cause Achilles tendinopathy;
• It is a condition that is associated with certain sports such as running, however it can still affect individuals who are less active.
• Having poor technique for your chosen sport, such as running form.
• An increase in intensity or frequency of training too quickly
• Poor flexibility in hamstring and calf muscles
• Exercising on hard or sloped surfaces
• Inappropriate footwear for exercise
• Hyper pronation (walking or running flatfooted)
What are the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy?
• Pain and stiffness around the Achilles tendon
• Initially pain at the start of activity and then eases during the activity, before becoming painful again afterwards. As the injury progresses, it may become painful during and after activity.
• Pain and stiffness first thing in the morning upon waking.
How can Achilles tendinopathy be treated?
• Rest from aggravating activities
• Extracorporeal shockwave therapy fires high energy shockwaves through to the injured tissue to stimulate blood flow and new collagen fibres to help repair the damaged tendon.
• Chiropractic or physiotherapy can help identify the appropriate rehabilitative exercises and manual therapy techniques to improve biomechanics and reduce pain levels.
• Short term painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
• Ice packs in the early stages can help reduce swelling and pain
• Orthotics may be beneficial
• Choosing appropriate foot wear