What is Achilles Tendonitis?

 

Achilles_Tondonitis_2aAchilles tendonitis is a common injury of the Achilles tendon. It more accurately referred to as Achilles tendinopathy or Achilles tendinosis, indicating it is a degeneration of the tendon more than an inflammation.  It can affect runners and people participating in high impact sports, but can also occur in people who are less active and is more common in slightly older age groups (40-60 years old). [1]

Achilles_Tondonitis_1Injury can occur at the mid-part of the tendon (mid-portion) which often results in an obvious, tender lump in the tendon. It can also occur at the attachment of the tendon on to the bone (insertional) where it can cause a painful spur on the back of your heel. This may also contribute to the development of bursitis at the back of the heel.

Achilles_Tondonitis_3Left untreated, this is a painful condition that can restrict your daily activities. There is also a chance of full tendon rupture which is serious situation requiring surgery.

 

 

 

What causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis (tendinopathy) is now thought to be a degenerative condition, where the rate of tissue repair is unable to keep up with the stress being placed on it. This stress can be due to increases in activity or due to overuse with prolonged stresses over time. Factors that may be associated with Achilles tendinopathy include:

  • Excessive stress on the tendon due to poor biomechanics [2] e.g. with flat or excessively pronated feet, non-supportive, inappropriate or worn-out footwear,
  • Excessive body weight
  • Health issues such as diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and smoking [2]
  • Tight Achilles tendon, leg and foot muscles

At FootMotion, we use our extensive clinical experience and state-of the-art technology to properly diagnose your foot and leg pain, carry out a biomechanical assessment to accurately assess your foot function and create an evidence-based treatment plan to effectively manage your condition.

How can Achilles Tendonitis be treated?

There are a wide range of conservative treatments for Achilles tendonitis, your treatment programme may include:

  • Pain relief through use of ice, massage, physical therapies, medication and rest
  • stretching and strengthening exercises, tailored specifically to your condition
  • strapping to support the foot and ankle
  • supportive, well-cushioned footwear
  • use of heel lifts to off-load the tendon
  • splints
  • arch supports or prescription foot orthoses

References:

  1. Wilson F, Bleakley C, Bennett K, Mockler D. 2013 Exercise, orthoses and splinting for treating Achilles tendinopathy (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD010874. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010874.
  1. Kearney RS, Parsons N, Metcalfe D, Costa ML.Injection therapies for Achilles tendinopathy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD010960. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010960.pub2.