Achilles Tendinopathy

September 12, 2017

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

Achilles Tendinopathy is a common condition that presents itself typically as a sharp pain in the heel of the foot. The Achilles tendon is a large tendon located at the back of the heel which connects your calf muscles to your heel pain. When this tendon is injured, it is referred to as Tendinopathy. It occurs most commonly in middle-aged adults and in athletes.

What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy?

The most common symptom is a sharp pain at the back of the heel, but can also present itself as burning pain or a constant dull ache. It is usually worse when you get out of bed and put weight on your feet first thing in the morning, or if you walk or run after a period of inactivity. During an acute injury, there is often noticeable swelling around the tendon which may also be inflamed, which is characterised by redness and heat. It is often painful when gently squeezing the tendon compared with the non-affected side.

What causes it?

There is no single cause but instead a likely combination of risk factors. These can be described as 2 main factors; intrinsic and extrinsic:

Intrinsic factors include: 

  • Feet with very high arches or very low arches
  • Feet that roll inwards while walking
  • Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
  • Being overweight

Extrinsic factors include:

  • Standing on your feet for a large part of the day – such as is the case for Teachers and Factory Workers
  • Wearing footwear that does not support the foot correctly

How we can help with treatment:

Achilles Tendinopathy is a treatable condition, with many different options available depending upon individual circumstances. A Gait Analysis appointment our Biomechanics Podiatrist will determine the causes of your Achilles Tendinopathy and recommend a treatment plan that is bespoke to you. This could include:

Orthotics: custom orthotics or insoles can be an excellent treatment option for Achilles Tendinopathy. Orthotics are suitable for people of all ages and because they are bespoke to your foot, offer the exact support required to aid your foot’s normal function and relieve the cause of your Achilles Tendinopathy.

Shockwave Therapy: This is an excellent treatment option for chronic or resistant cases and helps increase your healing capacity. This treatment works best alongside other treatments listed here:

Physiotherapy: This is a crucial part of the treatment plan if you suffer from Achilles Tendinopathy. Physiotherapists may provide manual therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, acupuncture, and an individually prescribed exercise programme to help build strength in weak muscles that could be causing your Achilles Tendinopathy.

Massage: If your Achilles Tendinopathy is caused due to tight calf muscles, our massage therapists can help to ease the tension in your muscles, thereby addressing the cause.

You can find more about our Gait Analysis service along with what to expect at your first appointment here

If you’re suffering from Achilles Tendinopathy, we can help. Book your Gait Analysis appointment online or by calling us on 01380 730473. Appointments are available at any of our clinics in Devizes, Marlborough, or Frome.