Achilles Tendinopathy Treatment

illustration of the achilles tendon

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that we regularly diagnose at Newcastle Physiotherapy.  Achilles tendinopathy is a term used to describe pain in the Achilles tendon.

Where are the symptoms located?

Symptoms can occur at the insertion (where the Achilles attaches to the back of the heel) or in the mid-portion of the tendon.

Physiotherapist palpating Achilles tendon

What are the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy?

The main symptom associated with Achilles tendinopathy is pain which usually comes on gradually, becoming more frequent and more irritable. Generally, this will come on during or after exercise (i.e. running, playing football), however any activity which loads the tendon can aggravate symptoms (i.e. going up or downstairs, normal walking).

You may also notice swelling around the painful area and/or thickening of the tendon, tenderness when touching the tendon, stiffness in the tendon when getting up in the morning or after sitting a while (which may ease when you get moving) and there may also be calf tightness or pain.

How is it caused?

Woman Stretches

Often the symptoms are caused by overloading the tendon through a change in activity or an increase in training levels.  This may include increased runs per week, increased mileage, introducing a new type of training i.e. speed training, poor quality footwear or a change of footwear.

It is possible that an underlying muscle weakness or tightness or ankle joint stiffness can cause or contribute to the symptoms.

Other risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy include age (more common in 30+), gender (more common in males), being overweight or diabetic.

How do we treat Achilles Tendinopathy?

Physiotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating this condition.

The aims of treatment are to reduce pain/swelling, restore normal range of movement and strength and get our clients back to their full level of activity,

Treatment may include:

  • Advice and education on pain management and training technique
  • Taping to offload the Achilles tendon
  • Exercise Therapy to restore normal range of movement and strength
  • Manual Therapy to improve flexibility of the ankle joint and the calf muscles
  • Acupuncture to help reduce pain

masseuse massaging athlete' s Achilles tendon after running

If you think you may have Achilles Tendinopathy and would like one of our Chartered physiotherapists to help you please call us or use the book now button below.