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ACHILLES PAIN: COMMON BUT NOT NORMAL

Achilles Tendon Pain

Do you dread getting up in the morning having to taking those first few steps knowing that the pain in your Achilles is about to hit?  Having to limp around gracefully until they warm up.  Or how about after sitting for any length of time and having to get up and attempt to walk normally down the office hallway.  I can assure you that whilst common in a lot of people, it is not normal and can be treated very effectively with the correct program.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, it is responsible for attaching the calf muscles to the calcaneus (heel bone) and has a very important role in walking and running.  When overloaded the tendon can become irritated and if left untreated can become thickened, very painful and even eventually lead to possible tendon rupture.

Reasons the tendon may become irritated

  • Overuse:  This can occur when the Achilles tendon is stressed/overloaded.  Running and jumping sports often lead to this
  • Mechanical issues:  Poor foot mechanics where feet over pronate can lead to excessive loading of the Achilles tendon
  • Poor / Incorrect Footwear:  Can again lead to incorrect loading of the Achilles
  • Obesity:  Increased weight can add load to any structure in the body including the Achilles
  • Arthritis:  There are some forms of Arthritis such as Ankylosing Spondylitis or Psoriatic Arthritis that can affect the Achilles tendon.

 General Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain around the back of the heel
  • Swelling and tenderness over the Achilles tendon
  • Pain and stiffness after periods of rest (e.g.) sleeping, sitting
  • Can warm up once you are up and about
  • Pain post activity.

There is lots of information regarding Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinopathy on the internet including telling you to rest, take anti-inflammatories and cease the activity that causes pain, however whilst these may reduce your symptoms they won’t fix the problem.  Once you return to your activity you will most likely find that your symptoms return and nobody wants to stop start their training over and over again.

How do I fix my Achilles?

It’s all about a very structured plan consisting of Low, medium and high load days which means you can still do aspects of your training.  This is why it is very important to find a physiotherapist that specialises in this area and can scale your training appropriately.  Here at Powerhouse Physiotherapy we do just that, having spent time collaborating with top researchers in the area we have developed a very effective protocol that has seen many a client successfully return to their chosen sport pain free.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us via website, Facebook or phone should you have any questions.