The Achilles Tendon is formed by the Calf Muscles at the back of the lower leg. The Achilles Tendon transmits force from the Calf Muscles which point the foot away from the body.
In some cases, what appears to be Achilles Tendon pain can be a Calf Muscle Strain or Plantar Fasciitis. These are two different pathologies and must be treated differently.
Achilles Tendinopathy is a degenerative process (What is Tendinopathy?). It happens gradually over time. It is common in field sports and runners. Typically, symptoms include pain around the Calcaneus (Heel Bone), local swelling to the tendon, pain moving up the calf muscles, pain on moving or at rest.
Avoiding aggravating factors is important to help the tendon to heal. Tendinopathies heal best when they are loaded, but it must be the correct type and amount of load. Too much and the tendon will become painful, too little and the tendon will not respond.
A thorough History and Physical Examination by your Chartered Physiotherapist will determine the likelihood of an Achilles Tendinopathy. If the examination shows an obvious Tendinopathy then a series of exercises and advice will be prescribed. These exercises will be progressive in nature to help the healing process. Shockwave Therapy should be considered in the case of Achilles Tendinopathy.
Following your Initial Consultation, a strict set of exercises as per our Achilles Tendinopathy Protocol will help in a full return to sports. The protocol consists of progressive loading for the tendon to aid healing. All loading protocols are research-based and proven to be effective in the management of Tendinopathy.
MyPhysio’s thoughts on Achilles Tendinopathy
As with all injuries, our Chartered Physiotherapists consider strength and mobility throughout the body not just where the pain is. In the case of Achilles Tendinopathy , perhaps a stiff ankle or poor pelvic control will be contributing. All these issues will be addressed at your Initial Consultation.
Controlling load is key. Load meaning; How much walking/exercise/standing you are doing. If you have a very active job where you are on your feet all day then this must be taken into consideration when designing your rehab programme. It may sound pedantic but controlling as many variables as possible will ensure you have the best chance to recover.
Often, clients come to MyPhysio and have had their symptoms for a few months. Typical early Tendinopathy symptoms include pain after exercise or the following morning. This is probably the start of your Tendinopathy, do not let it get out of hand and have it looked at early on.
If you have any queries regarding Achilles Tendinopathy, please ‘Ask the Expert’.