The Achilles tendon is the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. It is a key tendon in providing movement and power on walking. On occasions it can become irritated or thickened as a result of trauma or overuse, causing Achilles Tendinitis. Often changes in heel height of shoes, from high to low, can also create this irritation. During this irritation the Achilles tendon becomes thickened, stiff and painful, particularly on movement after sitting.
It is important to keep the tissues of the tendon moving so rest id not usually recommended unless in high levels of pain. Your podiatrist will be able to examine the area to determine if there is any tearing of the tendon a period of rest or possibly surgery may be required. This can be done using ultrasound imaging that is available in the clinic
Achilles Tendinitis treatment
Once the integrity of the tendon has been determined the podiatrist can then start you on your treatment plan.
This will usually involve stretches and strengthening of the tendon and the calf muscles themselves. In order to help you with this your podiatrist may recommend that we use orthoses to help distribute the stress and strain through the tendon evenly or occasionally strapping to allow you to continue to be active.
In cases of extreme inflammation may be indicated to perform injection therapy. This usually involves a period of immobilisation cast boot.
Given that the Achilles tendon does not have a great blood supply compared to muscles it can take some time to fully recover from injury.