Achilles tendinitis – causes and treatment options

Tue,Dec 13, 2016 at 10:05AM by

What is Achilles tendinitis or Achilles tendinopathy?

Quite literally Achilles tendinitis is tendinitis of the Achilles tendon. Also called Achilles tendinopathy, it’s typically caused by overuse of the affected limb and often occurs in athletes that train under suboptimal conditions.

What are the signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis?

Symptoms of achilles tendinitis can vary from a simple ache or pain and swelling of the ankles, to even to a burning sensation that surrounds the whole ankle joint. The pain is often worse during and after activity with the tendon and joint area becoming more stiff the following day. This is because the swelling can adversely impact the movement of the tendon.

Causes of Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis or Achilles tendinopathy can be caused by a number of factors:

//   Physiological, mechanical or extrinsic (i.e. footwear or training) causes.
//   Tightness in the calf muscles.
//   Excessive pronation of the foot (> 5 degrees) during the loading phase of the running and walking cycle.
//   Overuse injury refers from repeated stress and strain (often the case in long distance runners).
//   Improper or worn shoes which lack the necessary support for the foot.

What are the best treatment options for Achilles tendinitis?

Therapeutic exercise is the most effective evidence-based treatment for Achilles tendinopathy. Alternatives such as wait and see and the more passive treatments are not ideal, whereas injections, shock waves and surgery have been shown to be no better than appropriate exercise.

Steps to follow include:

//   Initial self management.
//   Visit your physiotherapist!
//   Exercise therapy.
//   Progress loads gradually and safely.
//   Daily monitoring of pain and activity.
//   Follow a healthy lifestyle.
//   Be patient, the gains will come.

For more details and some good management tips for Achilles tendinopathy have a look at the infographic prepared by Igor Sancho called Achilles Tendinopathy Management Tips.

Achilles tendinopathy exercise using Cadillac and Long Box

Using the Cadillac and Long Box for Achilles tendinopathy

Stretches for Achilles tendinitis

The Wunda Chair can be used for stretching and exercising the Achilles tendon


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