Achilles tendonitis, Brighton physio explains treatment at home

Achilles tendonitis is a broad term that is used to describe a recurrent pain below the calf muscles of your leg and coming from the tendon. Sometimes more accurately called Achilles tendinopathy it is a very common injury and most sports people are curious about, whether you are an experienced athlete or someone returning to sports.

For the least experienced of us, the Achilles tendon is a band of tissue linking your calf muscles to the base of your heel. It is very strong and thick to allow you to push through your forefoot when walking, jogging, climbing stairs and doing many more activities.

Achilles tendonitis – how does it get injured and can you prevent it?

A question I am often asked is ” How do I know I have this problem and how did it come on in the first place ?” Well, in the case of Achilles tendonitis the pain slowly increases at the back of the leg and it’s often brought on by specific activities such as climbing stairs or running. If you touch the painful area you might feel thicker tissue compared to the other side. It may be warm when painful and slightly “crunchy” when you are resting.

If you have such symptoms then maybe a simple change in your routine can help you. Think about those things. Do you wear appropriate footwear on a daily basis? Did you change your exercise program or take on a new sport? Are you climbing stairs several times a day? Did you change the surface on which you do your jogging? All those can be factors which could bring on an injury.

Achilles tendonitis treatment at home?

To start with, nothing replaces the diagnosis of a healthcare professional. The following is for information only and you should still seek appropriate advice.

The main thing you should remember is that tendons like movement and activity but don’t heal if left inactive. An injury to a tendon, if not dealt with appropriately, can become a long lasting problem.

These exercises, if performed with NO PAIN, are a good start as self treatment for Achilles tendinopathy.

1. Go up on tip toes, slowly lower heels 2. Roll foot arch firmly on tennis ball 3. Back knee locked, heel on ground, lean forward

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUpcFZM-V68

How can we help Achilles tendonitis?

By making sure that Achilles tendonitis is the right diagnosis. The internet does not carry out a physical examination where as musculoskeletal specialist does. Our physio’s will be able to differentiate between several types of potential injuries affecting similar area and carry out the appropriate treatment.

After 2 weeks it is starting to get chronic. If your pain does not subside within 2 weeks then give us a call.  It is often easier to get rid of an ache or pain when it just started!

Further treatments we use for Achilles tendonitis here at Sundial in Brighton may include:-

– Deep tissue friction to the Achilles tendon will activate the renewal of the fibres.
Laser therapy will reduced any inflammation provoked by the deep tissue friction and encourage tissue healing.
Dry needling with acupuncture needles around the site of injury to activate the renewal of fibres. This can be an alternative to deep tissue friction.
– Athletics taping (rigid tape) or kinesio taping (stretchy tape) can help to off-load the Achilles tendon during its repair phase.

Quentin Guichard BSc MCSP

Physiotherapist at Sundial Clinics

Addendum:

Recent research underlines the importance of laser therapy and exercises in Achilles tendonitis

Physical therapies for Achilles tendinopathy: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Sussmilch-Leitch SP, Collins NJ, Bialocerkowski AE, Warden SJ, Crossley KM.


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