Achilles tendon injury management

Achilles Tendinopathy: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Achilles tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition characterised by pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon – a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is a condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, improper footwear or training techniques, and biomechanical imbalances.

The exact causes of Achilles tendinopathy aren’t fully understood, but it’s believed to result from repeated stress or trauma to the tendon.

Diagram of achilles tendonitis

Causes of Achilles tendinopathy

The most common cause of Achilles tendinopathy is overuse. This can occur when you suddenly increase the intensity or duration of your activities, or if you participate in activities that place repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon, such as running, jumping, or dancing.

Other factors that can contribute to Achilles tendinopathy include

  • Age: The risk of Achilles tendinopathy increases with age.
  • Biomechanics: Certain foot and ankle problems, such as flat feet or overpronation, can alter the way the Achilles tendon functions and increase the risk of injury.
  • Footwear: Wearing improper footwear, such as shoes that are too tight or don’t provide enough support, can also increase the risk of Achilles tendinopathy.

Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy

The most common symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include:

  • Pain: Pain in the back of the heel that is worse with activity
  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the Achilles tendon, especially in the morning
  • Swelling: Swelling around the Achilles tendon
  • Tenderness: Tenderness to the touch along the Achilles tendon

Treatment for Achilles tendinopathy

Most cases of Achilles tendinopathy can be treated with non-surgical methods, such as:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate the pain
  • Ice: Applying ice to the Achilles tendon for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day
  • Compression: Wearing a compression bandage or sleeve to support the Achilles tendon
  • Elevation: Elevating the heel when sitting or lying down
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy: Working with a physiotherapist to develop a personalised exercise program to strengthen the calf muscles and improve flexibility in the Achilles tendon

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a torn Achilles tendon or to remove damaged tissue.

Prevention of Achilles tendinopathy

The best way to prevent Achilles tendinopathy is to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities, and to wear well-fitting shoes that provide adequate support. You should also warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards.

If you experience any pain or tenderness in the Achilles tendon, it is important to rest and avoid activities that aggravate the pain. If the pain persists, see a doctor or physiotherapist for evaluation and treatment.

Shred Recovery: Your trusted partner for Achilles tendinopathy treatment

If you are suffering from Achilles tendinopathy, Shred Recovery is here to help. Our experienced physiotherapist will develop a personalised treatment plan to help you reduce pain and inflammation, improve tendon health, and prevent re-injury.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover from Achilles tendinopathy.