Have you ever experienced pain or discomfort at the back of your heel? If so, you might be suffering from Achilles tendinopathy. This condition is quite common among athletes and people who engage in physical activities that involve repetitive jumping or running. However, you don’t necessarily have to be participating in structured exercise or sport to develop Achilles tendinopathy.
There are a few risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing Achilles tendinopathy. These include:
- Age: As we get older, our tendons become less elastic and are more prone to injury.
- Gender: Men are more likely to develop Achilles tendinopathy than women.
- Physical activity: Athletes and people who engage in high-impact activities are more likely to develop the condition.
- Foot and ankle biomechanics: Having flat feet, high arches, or other issues with the way the foot and ankle move can increase the risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy.
The Achilles tendon, which is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body, connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is responsible for transmitting the force generated by the calf muscles during movement. When this tendon is overused, it can become inflamed, swollen, and painful. This is known as Achilles tendinopathy, and it can be a frustrating condition to deal with. The good news is that physiotherapy can be highly effective in treating Achilles tendinopathy.
When it comes to Achilles tendinopathy, physiotherapy can help in several ways:
- Lengthening and strengthening exercises: One of the most effective treatments for Achilles tendinopathy is a tailored exercise program. Your physio can design you a program that’s right for you, based on your specific needs and goals. This might include exercises to strengthen your calf muscles, improve your balance and coordination, and lengthen out the muscles attached to your Achilles tendon.
- Manual therapy: Your physio might also use hands-on techniques to help relieve pain and inflammation in your Achilles tendon. This could include massage, joint mobilisation, or soft tissue release techniques.
- Education and advice: Your physio can also provide you with advice on things like footwear, orthotics, training techniques, and activity modification to help reduce the stress on your Achilles tendon. Your physio will also give you tips on how to manage your pain and inflammation at home.
Now, it’s important to note that everyone’s experience with Achilles tendinopathy is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. If you have heel pain or suspect you may have Achille’s tendinopathy, here are SiSU we can help. We have a team of physiotherapists who are able to assess and treat your heel pain. We can develop an individualised exercise program for you that you can do at home, under the supervision of a physio or personal trainer here at SiSU or you could even join one of our group classes. Book an appointment with a physiotherapist today and get on the road to recovery!
- Beyer R, Kongsgaard M, Hougs Kjaer B, Ohlenschlaeger T, Kjaer M, Magnusson SP. Heavy slow resistance versus eccentric training as treatment for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med. 2015;43(7):1704-1711. doi:10.1177/0363546515584761
- Malliaras P, Barton CJ, Reeves ND, Langberg H. Achilles and patellar tendinopathy loading programmes: a systematic review comparing clinical outcomes and identifying potential mechanisms for effectiveness. Sports Med. 2013;43(4):267-286. doi:10.1007/s40279-013-0024-z.