Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis is a fairly common condition in which there is inflammation of the tendo-achilles. This is often termed an “over-use injury”, and is seen in both sports people as well as in the general population. Symptoms include pain near the back of the heel, especially first thing in the morning and after sitting for long periods, swelling and tenderness of the tendon itself, and difficulty walking and running.
As with all conditions that we assess and treat at Macintosh Lower Limb Clinic, our treatment approach to Achilles Tendonitis involves assessing the underlying cause (muscle tightness, joint stiffness, training regimes, biomechanical abnormalities) and making a treatment plan which addresses this. The primary aim of treatment will be initially to reduce inflammation by reducing strain on the tendon (reducing aggravating activities, possibly a heel lift, rocker boot if severe tendonitis, massage to improve calf flexibility, tailored calf stretching), and address any biomechanical abnormalities if required.
Prevention is always better than cure so we advise the following for all active people who want to preserve the health of their Achilles tendon:
– make stretching an integral part of your warm-up and cool-down routines
– maintain a sufficient level of fitness for the sport you play
– avoid sudden introductions of harder training regimes, or new sports
– if you start to experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest the area. Trying to ‘work through’ the pain only makes this kind of injury worse
– always wear good quality supportive shoes appropriate to your sport. See us at Macintosh Lower Limb Clinic if you want advice on footwear
– high heels on a regular basis is a big no-no. Having your foot in a ‘tiptoe’ position for prolonged periods will shorten your calf muscles and reduces the flexibility of your Achilles tendon, making it more susceptible to injury