Achilles Tendinopathy or Achilles Tendon Injury is an overuse injury that is often seen in runners and other athletes who compete in racquet sports, track and field, volleyball and soccer.
There are many causes of Achilles Tendinopathy, all of which can be reduced with good management. The main cause I see is from an overuse of the tendon, occurring with repetitive motions involving forced lengthening of the tendon (e.g. running, jumping) or a sudden increase in my patients training intensity and volume.
Faulty foot mechanics and positioning during activities can play a part in predisposing someone to Achilles Tendinopathy.Additionally the inability of abdominals and pelvic stabilizers to control the ankle and knee when striking the ground may overload the Achilles tendon.
Signs and symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy can include pain following exercise or pain felt on rising the day following exercise. There may also be stiffness and tightness in the Achilles region, felt mostly in the morning and reducing throughout the day.Episodes of localized pain along the tendon may be felt, and pain in the back of the heel with contraction of calf muscles during walking, jumping, running and traversing stairs is common. As the tendinopathy worsens with continued overloading pain may present itself for a longer period of time, even during and after activity.
There are three phases when managing the injury. One of the many exercises that we use at PHYSIO4ALL is an Eccentric Achilles Tendon exercise, which you can do on the floor. You can view this exercise on the following link: https://www.physio4all.com.au/blog/physio4all-video-blog/achilles-tendon-floor-exercise/.
Firstly, raise yourself up on your toes; lift one leg up (this being the leg without the injury). Slowly lower yourself down on the injured leg, preferably to a slow count of 5, and repeat. You should feel the stretch going down your calf, and into your ankle/Achilles area. Repeat the exercise 15 times in the morning, midday and evening.
Our next blog will be on Rotator cuff.