02 Dec Achilles’ Tendinitis
Achilles’ tendinitis is the term used to describe the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This is different from tendinosis which is the degeneration of collagen in the Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the ankle and is the strongest in the entire body. This tendon’s function enables the foot and toes to move up and down. It allows you to stand on your toes and is used to move the body when walking, running and jumping.
Any of the following causes may result in the occurrence of Achilles’ tendinitis:
- Sudden changes in activity levels, such as excessive repetitive jumping.
- Inadequate stretching or incorrectly warming up before exercise.
- Training on uneven surfaces.
- Mechanical alignment problems in the foot and leg.
- Using inappropriate footwear.
- Certain diseases, such as Reiter’s disease.
- Taking certain medications can also affect the tendon (fluoroquinolones, statins, glucocorticoids, and aromatase inhibitors).
The symptoms of the condition may present differently in different patients, but it is most common to feel:
- Pain in the heel and along the tendon, especially when walking, running or jumping.
- The area may feel painful and stiff in the morning or after a period of rest.
- The tendon may be painful to touch or move.
- The area may be swollen and warm.
- Patients may have trouble standing up on one toe.
How to reduce the risk of Achilles’ tendinitis:
- Increase your activity level gradually, if you are just starting an exercise programme, start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your training.
- Take it easy, by avoiding activities that place excessive stress on your tendons. If you participate in a strenuous activity, make sure to warm up by stretching and exercising at a slower pace, then working your way up to a more intense level. If you notice pain during a particular exercise, stop immediately and rest.
- Choose your shoes carefully. The shoes you wear whilst exercising should provide adequate cushioning for your heel and should have a firm arch support to help reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. Replace your worn-out shoes. If your shoes are in good condition but don’t support your feet adequately, try to insert arch supports in both shoes.
- Stretch daily. Take the time to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles’ tendon in the morning, before and after exercise to maintain flexibility. This is especially important to avoid a recurrence of Achilles tendinitis.
- Strengthen your calf muscles and Achilles’ tendon to better handle the stresses they encounter with activity and exercise.
- Try to cross-train by alternating high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, with low-impact activities, such as cycling and swimming.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have pain at the back of your ankle, you should see a healthcare professional like an osteopath or physiotherapist for a consultation and correct diagnosis.
They will apply gentle techniques to the muscles in the leg that are associated with the Achilles tendon to locate the source of the problem, and provide you with instructions on how to reduce and relieve the symptoms you are experiencing.
Here at OsteoVision, our osteopaths can help alleviate your pain through manipulation, massage and other musculoskeletal techniques designed to release restricted facets in the ankle and improve muscular stability.
Our team of specialists are always available to assist you and offer advice. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your symptoms, have any questions, would like to book an appointment or require more information about your condition.
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Achilles tendinitis – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: Achilles tendinitis [Accessed 26 October 2021].
Move Osteopathy. 2021. Achilles tendon pain | Achilles Tendonitis | Move Osteopathy. [online] Available at: Achilles Tendon Pain – Achilles Tendonitis [Accessed 26 October 2021].