What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that results from an imbalance between tissue wear and repair in the Achilles tendon – at the back of the ankle. It usually develops slowly over time, although symptoms can come on quite suddenly.
Factors affecting tissue wear can include activity level, biomechanics, muscle imbalance and footwear. Factors that affect tissue repair can include age, gender, genetics, sleep, fitness level, and certain medications and medical conditions.
Why Should I Know the Signs?
Achilles pain is common in athletes and for those who spend a large portion of their day standing or walking. The development of tendon pain is often preceded by a change in activity level, for example running longer distances or spending more time walking at a new job. Sometimes tendon pain can come on several months after making such a change. Other times it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the injury, since tendonitis is influenced by so many factors.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
The ideal treatment for Achilles tendonitis will depend on how old the injury is, the section of tendon affected, and the type and degree of tissue change that is present (for example is the tendon thickened, or are there bony changes where the tendon attaches to the heel bone). Management will often involve activity modification as well as a progressive exercise program.
Your physiotherapist can help to confirm your diagnosis (several other conditions can cause pain at the back of the ankle!) and can help to identify and correct any muscle imbalances or biomechanical problems that may be contributing to your injury. Achilles tendonitis can also benefit from Shockwave Therapy which is offered at all Sun City Physiotherapy locations.
Rob Heimbach is a registered physiotherapist who works out of our Glenmore clinic. His passions include distance running, hiking, tennis, curling, and beach volleyball. He is an outdoors and movement enthusiast who enjoys helping people return to pain free movement!