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Achilles Tendonitis Treatment Thornbury

The heel and ankle pain that should never be ignored.

Are You Experiencing Achilles Pain?

One of the most common tendon injuries, Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy is inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. It can be quite debilitating and is often associated with swelling and pain.

While there are some remedies that can be used at home to reduce the pain caused by Achilles tendonitis, it’s recommended that you visit a podiatrist for a thorough assessment to manage the injury and prevent it from reoccurring.

Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis treatment

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the lower leg, which anchors the calf muscles to the heel bone. It’s a vital muscle that is used daily when walking, running, and performing other activities (like climbing stairs). Repetitive use can lead to microscopic tears in the tendon, which puts the body into an inflammatory state in order to repair them.

This injury occurs in two forms:

  • Non-insertional Achilles tendonitis, which occurs most often amongst young people who lead an active lifestyle. It’s when the middle portion of the tendon begins to break down and tear.
  • Insertional Achilles tendonitis, which occurs in people of all ages. It’s when the tendon becomes damaged where it attaches to the heel bone, which can lead to calcification and hardening.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Treating Achilles tendonitis as quickly as possible is essential for a fast recovery, so if you notice symptoms it’s important that you book in with your podiatrist. Signs and symptoms as your Achilles tendon weakens include:

    • Pain in the mid-portion of the Achilles tendon
    • Pain close to where the Achilles tendon meets the heel (sometimes described as heel pain)
    • Stiffness in the tendon (particularly first thing in the morning or after resting)
    • Pain that is present before, after, or even during activity
    • Swelling in the area
    • Lumps within the Achilles tendon (usually only present in chronic cases)

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

There are several factors that are believed to contribute to the development of Achilles tendonitis:

    • Overuse of the muscle or tendon following an initial injury
    • A poorly functioning foot (which can cause the heel to shift outwards and ‘bow’ the tendon)
    • A sudden increase in duration or intensity of activity, or a sudden shift to hill running and uneven surfaces
    • Poorly fitting shoes, particularly while walking or running
    • Tight calf muscles and hamstrings
    • Inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis)

There has also been some suggestion that being overweight is a risk factor for developing Achilles tendonitis.

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis

If you’re experiencing Achilles pain, pay a visit to one of our helpful podiatrists.

How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis?

The good news is that Achilles tendonitis responds well to conservative treatment, if the injury is caught early. The aim is to reduce the strain and load on the tendon and reduce inflammation, which will help to reduce the pain.

To treat Achilles tendonitis, your podiatrist may recommend:

    • RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
    • Specific exercises (such as heel drop therapy) to strengthen the tendon and surrounding muscles
    • Orthotics (to reduce abnormal force on the tendon and allow it to recover)
    • Physical therapy and stretching
    • Shockwave therapy
    • Massage (to restore the extensibility of the tendon, as well as increase strength)
    • Anti-inflammatory medications

If conservative treatment options have failed and the pain persists, surgery may be recommended. In severe cases where the Achilles tendon has ruptured, surgery will be required to re-attach the tendon.

Your Achilles Tendonitis Questions Answered

Yes, if you suspect that you have Achilles tendonitis, you should consult your podiatrist. They will assess your injury (taking down your medical and injury history, performing a biomechanical examination, and possibly requesting imaging like an x-ray or ultrasound) and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

This will ultimately depend on the severity of the injury (whether it’s minor, more extensive, or whether there’s a tear in the Achilles tendon). As such, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to heal. Your podiatrist will be able to provide a better timeline estimate once they’ve assessed your injury and determined the cause.

While there is no way to prevent Achilles tendinopathy from occurring, there are things you can do to lower your risk. These include:

  • Warming up and stretching before sport and physical activity
  • Exercising on flat and even surfaces
  • Easing into new exercise or fitness regimes
  • Wearing shoes that are properly fitted to your feet
  • Stopping activities that cause pain or discomfort
  • Avoiding high heels or reducing the heel’s height

As the Achilles tendon is such a vital muscle for everyday activities, it doesn’t take much to weaken it. Overuse, sudden increases or changes in activity, failure to properly warm up, and incorrect footwear can all cause the tendon to weaken. Certain inflammatory medications have also been known to contribute to a weakened Achilles tendon.

Achilles tendonitis will not heal itself – delaying treatment can prolong and even worsen your symptoms, making it increasingly harder to maintain your lifestyle. Calcified deposits could start to form, which make wearing footwear uncomfortable. Rupturing the tendon is also a huge risk, which will cause more intense pain and have a longer recovery time.

Why Choose Talaria Podiatrist?

Personable Approach

We take the time to understand our patients and their foot health goals so that we can create tailored treatment plans.

Welcoming Environment

There’s nothing white or sterile about our clinic – our Thornbury premises is designed to be warm and inviting for patients of all ages.

Experienced Team

Our highly qualified team bring many years of experience to the table, so rest assured that you’re in good hands with us.

Don’t Let Your Achilles Tendon Be Your Weak Spot

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential when it comes to a speedy recovery from Achilles tendonitis, so book an appointment with the team at Talaria Podiatrist the moment you notice pain. Once it becomes a chronic problem, it is much harder to treat and the less likely the injury is to respond to conservative treatment. We have plenty of experience with Achilles tendon injuries and can craft a treatment plan to match.

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