- Achilles’ tendon is a large tendon at the back of the ankle and is the strongest tendon in the body
- The Achilles tendon allows us to point our toes and foot up and down, stand up on our toes and to help propel the body forward in walking and running. Used a lot in jumping.
- Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon
- Achilles tendinosis is degeneration of the collagen in the tendon
- Tendinosis develops as the tendon is unable to maintain repair that keeps up with the demands placed on it in “overuse injuries”
What are the causes?
- Sudden changes in activity levels – excessive jumping etc
- Inadequate stretching
- Training errors or ridged training surfaces
- Mechanical alignment problems in the foot and leg
- Poor shoes
- Certain diseases (ie Reiter’s disease)
- Certain medications can also sometimes be involved (fluroquinolones)
What are the symptoms
- Pain in the heel and along the tendon especially when walking, running or jumping.
- The area may feel painful and stiff in the morning.
- The tendon may be painful to touch or move.
- The area may be swollen and warm.
- You may have trouble standing up on one toe
What to do
- See your Osteopath to have a proper examination and diagnosis of the pain
- Your Osteopath will probably apply gentle techniques to muscles in the leg that are associated with the Achilles tendon to ensure they are not too tight.
- Your Osteopath will give you instructions on how to reduce the load on the tendon – can be done with a heel lift or orthotics and activity modification.
- Your Osteopath will help to identify the cause of this episode of pain and prescribe you specific exercises and or stretches to avoid reoccurrence of the problem.
- Your Osteopath may suggest changes to your training if this has been the cause
- Take measures to reduce inflammation ice or anti-inflammatory which should only be taken under direction and supervision of a healthcare professional
What not to do
- Do not apply heat to the region
- Do not self prescribe exercises or stretches as these may irritate the problem
- Apply direct pressure or massage yourself