Achilles Tendinopathy

14.Nov.11 | Legacy

With the sun finally breaking through it is time to dust off the runners and get back into exercising after a long, long winter. Running is one of the easiest and most time effective forms of exercise, but with this repetitive activity often comes some form of injury.

Achilles tendinopathy is a degenerative type condition that occurs in the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. The tendon is the attachment of the two calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) to the heel. It generates and absorbs a huge amount of force through the foot and ankle resulting in susceptibility to overuse injuries.

Contrary to popular opinion, a Tendinopathy is a degenerative breakdown in the Achilles; it is not due to inflammation of the tendon. Excessive loading of tendons during vigorous physical training is regarded as the main stimulus for degeneration. The pain that is experienced is usually worse at the start of activity and once the activity has ceased and the area has ‘cooled down’.

Factors that may predispose to Achilles tendinopathy:

  • Changes in training pattern
  • Muscle imbalance, including calf, gluts and core
  • Poor technique
  • Previous injuries
  • Footwear and foot mechanics
  • Training on hills, sand or hard surfaces

In order to treat the injury it is important to firstly identify the reasons for the degeneration. For each person this is different and at Physiosports we use biomechanical and muscular analysis to effectively treat each individual. Soft tissue massage as well as joint mobilisation is imperative to a successful rehabilitation.

The key component to recovery from Achilles Tendinopathy is that tendons do not like to be unloaded; complete rest is not an option. A very carefully planned rehabilitation program is essential for strengthening the tendon, so that the fine line between unloading and excessive loading is effectively identified.

Early detection of any injury is important but even more so with Achilles problems. With accurate diagnosis and a well-managed rehab program you can be back out there pounding the pavement in the sunshine.