Achilles tendonitis is a common injury and can re-occur if you return to your sporting activities too quickly after injury and if a proper rehabilitation programme is not completed.
What is Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis refers to inflammation of your Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is often regarded as a robust and thick tendon though the Achilles tendon is still susceptible to damage and it can be very painful and can have a significant impact on sporting activity making proper rehabilitation important.
What causes Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis commonly occurs in jumpers and joggers due to the repetitive nature of that sport and it is an overuse injury. It may also happen due to other sporting activities that involve the same repetitive action.
Other causes of Achilles tendonitis include:
- Hill running
- Poor eccentric strength
- Unsupportive footwear
- Toe walking or often wearing heels
- Tight calf muscles or hamstrings
- Flat feet
- Changes in training surface
- Over-training/unaccustomed use doing too much too quickly
- A high arched foot with a tight Achilles tendon
What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is often described at the beginning of activity as a burning pain which decreases when doing activity and then gets worse when the activity ceases.
Common symptoms include:
- Achilles pain
- Loss of strength
- Pain may worsen with use
- Increased pain and stiffness in the morning or at night
- Tenderness and swelling if there is any inflammation
- A crunchy feeling or sound when using the Achilles tendon
- A prominent or painful lump over the tendon
How is Achilles tendonitis diagnosed?
Following a thorough foot and ankle assessment, your physiotherapist can diagnose Achilles tendonitis.
Scans such as an X-ray or MRI arent normally necessary and arent very useful for diagnosis.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for Achilles tendonitis?
There are many treatment options for Achilles tendonitis and the treatments your physiotherapist chooses will be based on what was found on assessment and your symptoms. You will be provided with a tailor made treatment programme.
Your physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate methods of treatment for you based on your symptoms and how you respond to different treatment methods.
Treatment can include:
- Ice or heat therapy
- Orthotic or insole advice
- Activity modification advice
- Joint mobilisation
- Passive stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Balance exercises
- Sport-specific exercises
- Graded return to activity
- Anti-inflammatory advice
Benefit of physiotherapy for Achilles tendonitis?
Physiotherapy is very effective at treating Achilles tendonitis and equally importantly it prevents the injury occurring again. Our aim is to assist your recovery and get you symptom free as quickly as possible. Your benefits of physiotherapy will depend on what your initial problem and symptoms were and your treatment goals.
Physiotherapy assists with:
- Reduced pain
- Improved strength
- Improved flexibility
- Increased balance and co-ordination
- Accelerated healing
- Prevention of the injury recurring
- Shorter recovery time