Soreness in the achilles tendon is something that many patients present with at Harris & Ross. On many occasions, the issue is a condition known as Achilles Tendinopathy. Find out more about what this is and how we go about treating it here-
What is it?
Your Achilles Tendon is a band of tissue (tendon) that runs down the back of the lower leg and attaches into the heel bone (Calcanues). Both your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) attach into the Achilles Tendon. Achilles Tendinopathy is a condition that results in pain, stiffness and swelling of the tendon.
What causes it?
The achilles tendon is susceptible to injury with repetitive high loads, and therefore it is very common amongst the running population, particularly those who increase the amount or intensity of training too rapidly.
Possible causal factors include:
- Training Error
- Poor biomechanics
- Poor movement control,
- Weak strength endurance
- Limited tissue and joint flexibility
Although the majority of people who experience Achilles Tendinopathy are highly active, it can occur gradually in people who are less active.
What happens to the tendon?
If excessive load is placed on a tendon repetitively, then the amount of tendon tissue broken down becomes greater that the new tissue produced. The tendon structure then alters to the point where it is unable to cope with the loads placed upon it.
There are different classifications of tendinopathy depending on the area of the Achilles affected. These include the middle portion of the achilles (Mid-portion Achilles Tendinopathy) and also specifically where the tendon attaches to the heel bone (Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy).
There is a wide variety of presentations for those people who experience Achilles tendinopathy, ranging from mild pain with minimal impact on activities and mobility to severe pain with more debilitating effects.
- Gradual onset
- Pain and morning stiffness
- Tightness in the calf muscles
- Swelling around the Achilles
- Tender to squeeze
- Symptoms eases with walking
- Pain level drops during training but then is worse again following
The first part of treatment is to get an accurate diagnosis and an understanding of the problem. It is important to have realistic expectations with regards to how long tendinopathies take to improve; expect to see improvements month on month rather than week on week. One of the fundamental parts of treatment is strengthening the tendon thereby improving its ability to tolerate load.
Other aspects that may encompass part of treatment are mentioned below:
- Rest, Ice and analgesia
- Loading/Strengthening exercises for the tendon and calf muscles
- Strengthening through the kinetic chain
- Addressing foot mechanics
- Podiatry input and the use of Orthoses
- Nerve mobilisation techniques
- Soft tissue techniques
- Acupuncture may be useful for some patients
Should imaging or onward referral be necessary Harris and Ross have excellent relationships with specialist Foot and Ankle Consultants as well as local sports doctors..
To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment at our Manchester, Wilmslow, Wigan or Altrincham clinics, and discuss a treatment plan for Achilles Tendinopathy call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below.