Achilles Tendinitis (AT) refers to pain in the Achilles Tendon. This tendon (tendons join muscle to bone), is responsible for attaching the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is one of the largest and strongest tendons in the body (able to withstand forces of up to 12 x bodyweight).
How do I know if I have Achilles Tendinitis?
With AT, the back of the heel and lower leg is often red, swollen and frequently painful. Pain may be increased upon rising in the morning or during times of increased activity such as sports. There are several different structures that may get sore around the Achilles Tendon. These include such things as paratendonitis, partial tears, ruptures, focal degeneration, ankle impingement and retrocalcaneal bursitis (heel bump).
Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
Some of the most common causes are:
Poor blood supply to the area
Irritation of the tendon due to pressure
Common Bio-mechanical factors such as;
Too much movement (hypermobility)
Too little movement (hypomobility)
Hyper-pronation (rolling inwards)
Injury to the tendon
In each case, the load on the Achilles exceeds its capacity. Injury may be due to a combination of several of the above factors. Other risk factors frequently include:
Sports – a wide range, including long distance running or any lunging activity.
Training errors – such as too many hills, too much too soon, excessively hard or soft surfaces.
Footwear – old distorted shoes, or poor “new” shoe selection.
Age – tendons become less elastic with age. This is evident in that the average age of someone who ruptures the Achilles, is 39 years.
How can it be treated?
Our treatment begins with:
A full history of the injury
Assessment of your Achilles Tendon
From here, the aim is to remove as many of the predisposing factors as possible, rest the stressed tissues and increase the overall efficiency of your gait pattern.
The treatment plan for Achilles Tendinitis often involves stretching and strengthening programmes, and issuing of a prescription orthotic. Orthotics are shoe inserts that reduce the compensation to bio-mechanical problems, upload the stress of injured tissue with increased efficiency in gait.
All this with a view to getting you back into your activities again pain free!
Long Term Solution
As with most conditions getting the correct diagnosis in the first place is so important.The sooner you get a correct diagnosis and treatment starts, the sooner you will be pain free.
Achilles Tendinitis may give worse pain in the morning when rising, or during times of increased activity such as sports.
Following a treatment plan involving stretching and strengthening programmes as prescribed by your podiatrist, and wearing prescribed orthotics in all shoes is vital.
The type of orthotic used will be dependant on a number of factors like what sort of shoes you wear, sports involvement, length and duration of the problem, as well as previous treatments. Orthotic choice is best discussed with your podiatrist.
Over the counter orthotics can help some people. But bear in mind you may not have over the counter feet.
You play a very important role in your own rehabilitation. Following prescribed guidance may make all the difference to you making a full recovery.
Still in pain?
Are you feeling like you have tried everything but are still in pain?
Do you feel like you have seen every health practitioner you can about your tendon pain?
We have a track record of diagnosing and successfully treating cases that have previously proven difficult to resolve and we’d love to help you get back on your feet doing what you love.
Call us or drop us an e-mail & we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your AT pain and some possible solutions. You can also book an appointment online.
Providing the people of Waikato with a centre of podiatry excellence