Achilles Tendinopathy: Understanding and Treating the Pain in your Heel
Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition that affects the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. This condition is caused by repetitive stress or overuse of the tendon, leading to pain and stiffness in the affected area. Let’s discuss the symptoms, causes and treatments for Achilles Tendinopathy.
What is the Achilles Tendon?
It's the connection between the muscles of the calf (Soleus and Gastrocnemius) and the heel. The word tendon means a connection between muscle and bone.
The most common symptom of Achilles tendinopathy is pain in the heel, or in the Achilles tendon, especially when walking, running, or jumping. The pain may start gradually and gradually worsen over time, making it difficult to perform normal activities. Other symptoms may include:
- Stiffness in the affected area
- Swelling in the heel or calf
- Weakness in the affected leg
- Tenderness when pressing on the tendon
- Difficulty with running, or sports
Causes of Achilles Tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is typically caused by overuse or repetitive stress to the tendon. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Sudden increase in physical activity
- Tight calf muscles
- Worn-out or poor-fitting shoes
- Flat feet
Diagnosing Achilles Tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is diagnosed through a combination of a physical examination, imaging tests, and a medical history review. Your healthcare provider will examine the affected area and may request X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound to rule out other possible causes of the pain.This can be done by an allied health professional such as a Podiatrist or a Physiotherapist.
Treating Achilles Tendinopathy
Treatment for Achilles tendinopathy will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual's specific needs. The most common treatment options include:
- Rest and Ice: Taking a break from activities that cause pain and sometimes applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Gradual Loading: Your Podiatrist or Physiotherapist can design a specific exercise program to help strengthen the affected area and help you return to the activities you want to do, gradually.
- Stretching: Stretching the calf muscles regularly can help improve flexibility and reduce stress on the tendon.
- Medications: Your Pharmacist can assist you in finding a pain medication that will suit you
- Orthotics: Custom orthotics can help improve the alignment of the foot and reduce stress on the tendon.
Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition that affects the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. If you are experiencing pain in your heel, it is important to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. With the right care, advice and treatment, it is possible to manage the pain and get back to your normal activities.
Book an appoitment with Josh if you have been experiencing the effects of Achilles tendinopathy.