Treatment of achilles tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy presents as pain at the back of the heel, and can span up the back of the leg. Running (particularly uphill) will worsen the pain. Initially there may be some swelling, but the pain can continue even when the swelling has subsided.

How is it treated?

  • PRICE – protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation may be initially recommended to reduce pain and swelling. 
  • Achilles tendon exercises  
  • Orthotics – Orthotics may be advised to lift the heel up to reduce any strain. It is also recommended that you change your regular  footwear. 

What causes Achilles Tendinopathy?

  • Overuse of the Achilles tendon. This can be a problem for people who run regularly. Archilles Tendinopathy can also be a problem for dancers and people who play sports that involves a lot of jumping, 
  • Training or exercising wearing inappropriate footwear. 
  • Following poor training or exercising techniques.
  • Making a sudden change to your training program – for example, rapidly increasing the intensity of your training. 

What symptoms should I look out for?

The main symptoms include pain and stiffness around the affected Achilles tendon. Pain and stiffness tends to develop gradually and can be more painful first thing in the morning. Runners may experience pain at the beginning of their run, which may ease and become more bearable, followed by an increase in pain when they have stopped. 

There is a risk of tearing (rupturing) the Achilles tendon if you have Achilles Tendinopathy. This is because the tendon is damaged and weaker than usual. However, the risk is usually quite low. Severe pain around the Achilles tendon that develops suddenly may be a sign of tendon rupture. We suggest you see a podiatrist urgently if you think this might be the case. 

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