What is it?
Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness of the Achilles tendon. This large tendon joins your calf muscles to your heel bone. Achilles tendinitis should be referred to as Achilles tendinopathy. Tendinitis means inflammation. Research has demonstrated that in most cases of Achilles pain there is little to no inflammation present and treatment measures that aim to reduce inflammation may not be effective. Achilles tendinopathy is commonly an overuse injury. The condition is common in runners and athletes that require a lot of jumping movement such as ballet dancers.
- Poor footwear
- Technique error, such a poor running pattern or not putting heels down when jumping
- Making a change to training programme – such as suddenly increasing the intensity of training
- Training surfaces
- Poor biomechanics
- Weakness in particular muscle groups
- Poor flexibility
The principles of conservative care are:
- Manual therapy including low level laser therapy, myofascial release, joint mobilisations and taping
- Addressing contributing biomechanical factors and orthotic therapy may be useful
- Improving the tendons tolerance to load
- Strength training and correcting training errors
Conservative therapy should be instigated for 3-6 months before considering other therapy such as injection therapy or surgical intervention.