Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a common cause of pain and stiffness at the back of your heel. It is an overuse injury of the achilles tendon (the tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone) and is commonly seen in sports that involve repetitive running, jumping and dodging actions such as football, netball and basketball. 

Symptoms 

Achilles tendinopathy symptoms are most commonly felt at the back of the heel where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone.  Symptoms include:

  • Pain, stiffness and swelling in the achilles tendon 
  • Pain is often worst first thing in the morning and after periods of activity 
  • Pain often subsides during activity as the tendon warms up 
  • Decreased calf strength and flexibility 

Prevention 

Tips for preventing achilles tendinopathy include: 

  • Wearing the correct shoes for your chosen sport or activity 
  • Following an appropriate training program for your sport or activity 
  • Warming up and cooling down before/after activity 
  • Keeping your weight at a healthy level to prevent excessive loading of the achilles tendon 
  • Regular strengthening and stretching of the calf muscles 
Calf Pain

Treatment 

We strongly recommend you see your podiatrist as soon as you feel discomfort in your achilles tendon as early intervention can significantly reduce your recovery time.  Treatments may include: 

  • Load management – appropriately managing activities that cause pain 
  • Offloading the achilles tendon with taping and heel raises 
  • Appropriate footwear 
  • Cold therapy 
  • Calf strengthening program 
  • Custom made orthotics 
  • Other alternative therapies such as shockwave and dry needling 

 

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