Podiatrists providing solutions to your foot problems

Serving Western Sydney since 2012

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon, also known as the tendocalcaneus, is the ligament that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus). You can feel this thick ligament if you run your hand behind your heel to your calf muscle. Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of this ligament.

What causes Achilles tendonitis?

Every time we take a step, we are actively utilising our calf muscles. Injuries to the Achilles tendon can happen in a number of ways, usually due to repetitive or strenuous activities. These can include:

  • Running and jumping, usually high intensity or long distance
  • Overuse at work or in the gym, worsened by lifting or carrying heavy objects
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Poor footwear
  • Genetic predisposition, eg. flat feet

What are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis presents as a pain in the in the back of the lower leg. We can describe it with different levels of severity: recent (acute) and longstanding (chronic).

An acute or recent injury to the achilles tendon is characterised by inflammation with swelling, redness or pain in the back of the heel. It may also be the result of a flare up of an old injury.

A chronic injury describes a injury that is longstanding, and while painful, does not present with any visible signs of inflammation. The injury has gone through the acute phase already, and has still not healed completely. Usually we consider this 3 months onwards from the time of injury.

What can podiatrists do about Achilles tendonitis?

As Achilles tendonitis can present with similar symptoms to other conditions, we encourage you to firstly have this professionally diagnosed and assessed by a podiatrist. There are many things which can influence the outcome of treatment for Achilles tendonitis, such as work, level of exercise, age, strength, foot structure, footwear and musculature. Therefore, it is important to have a treatment plan tailored to you, which your podiatrist can help develop. This will speed up your recovery process, and may include:

  • Stretches and exercise
  • Strapping and taping
  • Footwear selection and education
  • Custom orthotics or devices to reduce further damage and to prevent recurrence of Achilles tendonitis.

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