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All about Achilles tendinopathy

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

What is archilles tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, tenderness, stiffness and swelling in the Achilles tendon. Usually, it is caused by repeated small injuries (microtrauma) that occur and haven‘t been given adequate time to heal completely.


Here are some common examples of microtraumas that may lead to Achilles tendinopathy.

  • Tendon overuse. This is prevalent in people who run and jump regularly such as runners, dancers, tennis players and basketball players.

  • Training with inappropriate footwear leading to poor biomechanics and loading of the Achilles tendon.

  • Poor training or exercise techniques.

  • Sudden change of intensity to your exercise program.

  • Training on hard or inclined surfaces.


Signs & symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy can include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the Achilles in the morning when you first wake up.

  • Tenderness upon palpation along the Achilles tendon up to 2-6cm above the calcaneus (heel bone).

  • Initial pain with exercise, but eases after warming up and pain returns after exercise.


Management


Rest

Rest is crucial in the initial stages of Achilles tendinopathy to take to load off in order to allow the tendon to heal. Initially, you should stop any high impact activities such as jumping and running. As the pain decreases, begin to resume exercises as your pain allows, We recommend you talk to your physiotherapist or doctor when it is suitable for you to start exercise again.


Ice

Ice may assist to reduce swelling in the early stages of Achilles tendinopathy. The ideal time for ice should be 10 to 30 minutes as research has shown that less than 10 minutes has little effect and over 30 minutes may cause damage to the skin.


Rehab

Below are 3 exercises performed by our physio to help with Achilles tendinopathy.


1. Standing Gastroc stretch - Hold for 15 seconds repeat 2-3 times


2. Bilateral calf raises —> single leg eccentric heel drop - 12 reps 3 sets



3. Seated soleus heel raises - 12 reps 3 sets




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