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Achilles Tendinopathy / Tendinitis

What is Achilles Tendinopathy / Tendinitis?

Achilles Tendinopathy, also known as tendinosis, occurs when the Achilles tendon degenerates and becomes inflamed. This condition is common in athletes, runners, and people who have calf tightness. Achilles tendinopathy may occur in the middle of the tendon (known as midportion Achilles tendinosis) or at the point where the tendon connects to the heel bone (known as insertional Achilles tendinosis).

 

Achilles tendinitis is an injury to this tendon that causes pain in the back of the leg. Typically this injury results from inflammation of the surrounding sheath (paratenonitis), degeneration within the tendon (tendinosis), or a combination of the two.

 

Both tendinopathy and tendonitis are often caused by overuse of or sudden stress on a tendon. Ageing and lack of muscle tone can also play a role in the development of tendinopathy.

Common Presentation

  • Pain in either the midportion or insertion point of the tendon to the heel

  • Swelling and/or  inflammation of the Achilles tendon

  • Decrease in function

 

Prevention

  • Maintaining healthy weight to minimise stress on the Achilles tendon

  • Wear supportive shoes with good arch support and absorption

  • Warming up before exercise or working out, start new exercise regimes slowly

  • Gradual loading of physical activity  

Our Treatment Focus​​

  • After confirming Achilles tendinopathy / tendinitis, it is important to investigate why you are suffering this condition

  • Physiotherapists can offer a conservative approach when managing patients with Achilles tendinopathy / tendinitis. Our treatment focuses on pain relief, restoring function and mobility and this is facilitated via a range of treatment techniques offered by our therapist:

- Shockwave Therapy

- Soft Tissue Release

- Strengthening Exercises

- Dry needling

At-Home Exercises

Please note that you should always consult with your doctor or physiotherapist prior to attempting these exercises. Alternatively, feel free to call us on 1300 16 16 88 to speak to one of our physiotherapists to see whether these exercises are suitable for you.

Because stiff muscles in the calves can aggravate the achilles, stretching solutions are generally recommended for at-home exercises.

Calf Stretch Exercise

Stand at arm's length from a wall, and place your right foot behind the left, around shoulder's width apart. While both palms are pushing against the wall, slowly and gently bend your left leg towards the wall. Try to keep your right leg straight and right heel flat on the ground as you do this. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Reverse the legs and repeat.

Calf Isometric Holds

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at sides (for an added challenge, hold a dumbbell in each hand). Engage your abs for stability and roll up onto the balls of your feet, lifting both heels off the floor. Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Summary

Achilles Tendinopathy / Tendinitis can present at different areas of the Achilles tendon and in different severity. If you have questions about the best management for your symptoms. Please consult your Physiotherapist for their opinion. 

 

Alternatively, you are most welcome to call us on 1300 16 16 88, Balmain Physiotherapy by Sydney Allied Health Group. Our Physiotherapists are more than happy to assist you and your patients through their recovery.

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