What is it?
The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscle at the back of your shin to the heel bone. It helps you to rise up on to your toes and plays an important function in propelling you forward when walking and running. Achilles tendinopathy occurs when there are tiny micro-tears in the tendon, which often causes pain and swelling.
How is it diagnosed?
Achilles tendinopathy usually occurs because of an overload of the tendon. This can happen as a result of:
- Poor biomechanics of your feet
- An overload on the tendon from other areas of your body e.g. your knee, tight hip muscles
- An increase in activity e.g. more training in preparation for an event
- Poor strength in the calf muscle and tendon.
Pain is often experienced with activities that require you to lift your heel off the ground e.g. walking up and down stairs, jumping. Because the injury often occurs because of overloading, taking a detailed history about the pattern of your symptoms is a big indicator of this type of injury. At Ergoworks we not only take a detailed history and look at your Achilles tendon and calf directly but we examine and assess your whole body to see if there are any areas away from your Achilles tendon that are contributing to your injury.
How is it treated?
Treatment of Achilles tendinopathy normally involves strengthening your calf muscle and Achilles tendon with a series of progressive exercises. Soft tissue release, dry needling, taping, and stretching are often used to help reduce the load on the Achilles tendon as well. These techniques can be used anywhere on your body that may be contributing to the injury.
Addressing your exercise or sporting technique is often an important way of preventing the injury returning. If the injury is being caused by something like poor foot biomechanics a referral to a podiatrist may be needed to assess the suitability of orthotics. Wearing appropriate footwear can also play a role in reducing symptoms.
How long does it take to get better?
Because the injury often occurs because of overloading, early intervention often means early recovery. Early intervention may mean recovery occurs in a matter of weeks whereas a more severe injury may take months to full recover.
If this sounds like something you’re struggling with, come and see us in the clinic today!