Achilles Tendonitis or Achilles Tendinopathy

The Achilles tendon, sometimes referred to as the TA (Tendon Achilles), is the combined tendon of the two calf muscles, the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus. It inserts into the base of our heel.

Tendinopathy is the irritation of this tendon and may be caused by friction, a sudden overstretching force or strenuous use for prolonged periods of time.

In the past this condition was referred to as ‘Achilles tendonitis’ as it was believed to be inflammatory in nature. With the widespread use of MRIs as a diagnostic tool, we now know that inflammation is not characteristic of this condition.

The Achilles tendon is commonly injured:

  • in running sports, when the muscles constantly pull on the tendon
  • when shoes are tight and rub at the back of the ankle
  • with prolonged walking – such as bushwalking and golf
  • with some sports shoes and boots which are styled to come up high over the heel and compress and irritate the tendon
  • when a sudden stretching force is experienced, such as a jump or fall.

Physiotherapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

As physiotherapists we often see patients with pain around the heel area or in the lower calf, which worsens with activities such as walking and running. Our physiotherapy treatment for Achilles Tendinopathy is a combination of:

  • ultrasound
  • modified exercises
  • heel raises
  • hands on  techniques
  • addressing underlying problems in foot alignment
  • a graduated regime of stretches to do at home

If you experience pain during or after running, or have tenderness around the heel, don’t risk further unnecessary damage – come to see us for an assessment and correct treatment of your problem.

For Achilles Tendon injuries we stock:

  • heel raises
  • soft orthotics