Achilles Tendinopathy

  Well done! You’ve taken the first steps to understanding and relieving your Achilles Tendinopathy! Once you read this page answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia and bring that to your next treatment session. Recovery from your Achilles Tendinopathy is crucial in order to achieve your goals and gain rapid and long-lasting results. Your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia has requested that you read this page so that you understand your condition and know how to best manage in between physiotherapy consultations.
Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

Achilles Tendinopathy, or sometimes referred to as Achilles Tendinitis is a condition that affects the largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon. This tendon attaches the calf muscles to the heel of the foot. Activities that require loading the foot repeatedly, such as in jumping, running or even wearing high heels often can cause the onset of Achilles Tendinopathy. There are different types of Achilles Tendinopathy, based on the location of the injury. They include Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy, where the insertion site of the tendon at the base of the heel (calcaneus) is affected, or Mid-Portion Achilles Tendinopathy, where the level of the tendon body is affected. Patients who suffer from Achilles Tendinopathy usually feel pain during activities that may load the tendon. Palpating the tendon may also elicit pain, and often may feel thicker, swollen, red or warm in the area that is affected. You may also experience stiffness during the night or first thing in the morning.  

What caused my Achilles Tendinopathy?

Tendinopathy of any tendon in the body occurs when the tendon has undergone overuse and repetitive stress that it is not able to withstand. Usually this means that you have recently undergone an increase in activity that requires the use of the Achilles tendon repeatedly. This could be anything from sports, dancing, wearing high heels, or a trauma to the tendon or calf muscle. The repetitive stress and the inability for the tendon to adapt to the overload ultimately leads to changes in the property of the tendon at the cellular level, including disorganisation of collagen fibres and other pathological features that if left untreated, can be irreversible. Achilles Tendinopathy can also be caused by other factors such as poor circulation, lack of flexibility, endocrine or metabolic factors.  

How can you help me with my Achilles Tendinopathy?

A detailed history, taken by your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, of the pain or injury can determine the underlying cause of your Achilles Tendinopathy, while a physical assessment of the knee, hip and surrounding structures, can determine the best course of action in treating the condition. Usually, treatment will involve correcting any abnormal gait (walking) biomechanics, and strengthening muscles to reduce muscle imbalances and tightness. Achilles tendinopathy

What should I do to avoid aggravating my Achilles Tendinopathy?

  • AVOID activities that aggravate your pain, until you have seen a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician.
  • AVOID stretching your knee as this may be aggravating the tendon.
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, while avoiding aggravating activities. Continue doing pain-free activities such as walking or swimming.
  • For RELIEF, applying ice to the area may help to reduce some pain and inflammation. Be sure to wrap the icepack in a towel, and only apply for 10 minutes every 2 hours. CEASE use if you have any negative reaction.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles de-loaded and moving freely with no restrictions.
Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your Achilles Tendinopathy pain has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities without worrying about future flare-ups.

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