Achilles tendinopathy is one of the most frequent condition we see in this clinic. It is an overuse injury to the tendon at your heel. Your Achilles tendon forms where three of the muscles in your calf meet, its purpose is to attach these to the bone so that when the muscles contract, they point your foot. If something places excessive load through your tendon (change of footwear, running more than normal) it may cause micro damage to it. This can result in pain.
Do I have Achilles Tendinopathy?
If you have had a gradual onset of pain at your heel you may do. It will likely be tender to touch and worse after exercise. Sometimes it can look thickened or swollen. You may also feel particularly stiff when you waken up in the morning. A doctor, physio or podiatrist would be able to assess you and confirm this diagnosis. Some people may have ultrasound scans to gauge the extent of the pain but these are not normally required for diagnosis.
If you have an Achilles tendinopathy - you should always commence a strengthening programme. Training your tendon to be strong enough to accommodate the forces it is put through on a daily basis is a great place to start and generally has best outcomes. If there are any predisposing factors within the mechanics of your foot a podiatrist may be able to help with this. You may need to have look at your exercise program and whether it’s progressing too quickly.
If treatment is unsuccessful, our podiatrist Kent can also offer prolotherapy injections. This is where a substance is injected around the tendon that promotes a healing response in the area.
It can take a long time to recover from Achilles tendinopathy (12 weeks or longer) and the longer you have had the pain, the longer it takes to recover so if you feel any Achilles pain it is better to someone early on in the process when its easiest for you to manage. Age may also be a factor- younger people’s tissues are more responsive to treatment on the whole.