Achilles tendinopathy is a blanket term that covers a variety of pathologies involving the Achilles tendon and its surrounding sheath. Achilles tendinopathies vary greatly in severity and the amount of impairment caused. They also affect individuals from all walks of life, young athletes with acute injuries to ageing individuals with degenerative changes to their tendons.
Achilles tendinopathies generally present as pain, swelling, stiffness or inflammation to the Achilles tendon. Achilles injuries are quite common and can occur in inactive individuals. However, they more commonly occur in active people, particularly runners.
The causes of Achilles tendinopathies may include;
- Repetitive trauma or overuse
- Poor training techniques
- Poor or inappropriate footwear
- Poor foot or lower limb biomechanics
- Some genetic factors and or arthritic conditions
Treatments for Achilles tendinopathies vary depending on severity and impairment that the injury is causing. The following maybe included in achilles management plans:
- Rest, ice, NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
- Appropriate stretching and strengthening programs
- Physical therapies massage, mobilisation or dry needling.
- Orthoses, heel lifts, night splinting
In resilient or severe cases sometimes the following may also be utilised:
- Appropriate imaging: ultrasound/MRI
- Lithotripsy, Prolotherapy, ABL injections
The reality for all Achilles injuries is that prompt assessment and treatment will generally result in faster recovery and better outcomes. As a general rule, the longer you leave Achilles pain the more likely it is for inflammatory or abnormal loading processes to set in. So if you are suffering from a painful or stiff Achilles don’t put up with it! Book in with one of our podiatrists today to seek assistance and get yourself back on your feet as soon as possible.