Updated: Apr 13, 2021
What is Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis, also known as Achilles tendinopathy, is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It's also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball.
Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor's supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes.
Tenderness when touching the Achilles tendon
Stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning
An aching pain in the Achilles tendon after running or other sports activity
Severe episodes of pain following prolonged running, stair climbing, walking or sprinting
What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is often caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon which is beyond its capacity. This results in inflammation of the tendon which causes swelling and pain.
The Achilles tendon is used to point your ankle down towards the floor which is a key movement when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes. A sudden change to any of these activities can start to cause inflammation in the tendon.
A number of factors may increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis, including:
Your sex: Achilles tendinitis occurs most commonly in men.
Age: Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age.
Flat arches: A naturally flat arch in your foot can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. This can be addressed with insoles, follow this link to see insoles we would recommend: https://amzn.to/3wGjYEE
Being overweight: If you are overweight it will put a higher demand on the Achilles tendon and increase the chances of causing inflammation.
Poor flexibility: Tight calf muscles also can increase tendon strain.
Training choices. Running in worn-out shoes or running on hilly terrain can increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis as it puts additional stress on the tendon.
Medical conditions. People who have psoriasis or high blood pressure are at higher risk of developing Achilles tendinitis.
What Can Be Done To Treat Achilles Tendinitis?
There are many different ways to treat Achilles tendonitis. Often an approach with 2 or more of the following options used together help to resolve the pain:
Exercises: This is the most important of all the treatment options available, exercises should be introduced to begin loading the achilles tendon and strengthening the calf muscles. Watch this video below to see some exercise to start treating achilles tendonitis:
Acupuncture and sports massage: Both acupuncture and sports massage can be really useful to temporarily reduce pain and improve mobility in the calf muscle and the achilles. This can help give you a window of opportunity to complete more reputations of the exercises more comfortably.
Insoles: Ankle stability can play a significant role in the stress put through the achilles tendon. If your ankle rolls inwards (pronation) when you walking this could contribute to achilles pain. This can be addressed with insoles. Follow this link to see some insoles we would recommend: https://amzn.to/3wGjYEE
Heel wedges: Similar to insoles heel wedges can be placed in the shoes to help with achilles tendinitis. Heel wedges help to reduce the stretch on the Achilles tendon whilst walking to improve pain. Follow this link to see some heel wedges we would recommend: https://amzn.to/3cYH29H
How Long Will This Take To Get Better?
Unfortunately Achilles tendinitis takes a long time to resolve. Often it does resolve in the long term but often it takes around 3 months to start seeing any improvements with regular exercises with other treatments alongside. In some cases it can resolve within 3 months but this is uncommon. It often takes at least 6 months or more to fully resolve.
Book An Assessment
If you feel you would benefit for an assessment by our physiotherapist please get in contact. They will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis as well as recommend and provide treatments appropriate to you. If you wish to contact us follow this link to our bookings page: https://www.kinetixphysiotherapy.com/contact