Achilles Tendinopathy

By Adelaide Women's Physio | July 28, 2017

Achilles tendinopathy is a common complaint seen in a physiotherapy clinic. Achilles tendon pain is usually due to small tears and inflammation in the tendon which can develop over time. This may occur due to a single incident of overstretching or straining the tendon, or through general overuse where the tendon becomes worn and damaged.

Several factors can contribute to the development of Achilles Tendonitis. These include:

  • Wearing high-heeled shoes that shorten and tighten the calf muscle
  • A sudden increase in the amount of training, walking, jogging
  • Poor footwear that rub against the tendon or do not support the foot adequately
  • Training on hard or uneven surfaces – beach running and running up hills is notorious for this
  • Insufficient stretching or recovery between training sessions
  • Poor foot biomechanics – excessive pronation is the most common
  • Weight gain

Achilles symptoms include burning type pain in the Achilles tendon, heel or lower calf. Tenderness to pressure and redness and swelling are common. There may be difficulty rising up onto your toes, particularly when standing on 1 leg only.

Treatment may include:

  • RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation in the early stages of pain and inflammation
  • Correction of foot biomechanics, advice on footwear and/or prescription of orthotics
  • Calf muscle trigger point release
  • Mobolising muscle and joint structures that may be impairing or altering normal movement of the calf muscles and ankle joint
  • Strengthening calf muscle, core abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles to prevent re-injury

Early physiotherapy treatment of Achilles Tendonitis is vital as it can become difficult to resolve the longer it has been present. Full rehabilitation is important to achieve an optimum outcome and prevent re occurrence.