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What is Achilles Tendonitis? Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Achilles tendonitis, also known as Achilles tendonosis, is a condition characterised by inflammation and irritation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a strong band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) to the back of the heel bone (the calcaneus). It is an essential structure for walking, running, jumping, and various other activities that involve movement of the lower leg and foot.

Achilles tendonitis typically occurs as a result of overuse or repetitive strain on the Achilles tendon. This can happen due to activities that involve sudden increases in intensity or frequency, inadequate warm-up, improper footwear, or biomechanical issues. Runners, athletes, and individuals who engage in activities that put stress on the Achilles tendon are more prone to developing this condition.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  1. Pain: Pain is usually felt along the back of the heel where the tendon attaches to the calcaneus. The pain might be mild at first and become more severe with continued activity.

  2. Stiffness: The affected area may feel stiff, especially after periods of rest or upon waking in the morning.

  3. Swelling: Swelling and tenderness might be present along the Achilles tendon.

  4. Warmth and redness: Inflammation can lead to warmth and redness in the affected area.

  5. Gradual onset: Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis usually develop over time due to repeated stress on the tendon.

Achilles Tendonitis Treatment

It's important to address Achilles tendonitis promptly to prevent further complications. Initial treatment often involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE protocol). Physiotherapy is a vital component in the rehabilitation process post developing Achilles Tendonitis. Your physiotherapist will look to manage your load and develop a strength program to improve the resilience of the tendon.

Prevention is key to avoiding Achilles tendonitis. This involves proper warm-up before physical activity, gradual increases in intensity and duration of exercise, choosing appropriate footwear, maintaining good lower limb biomechanics and adequate leg STRENGHT!!

If you suspect you have Achilles tendonitis or are experiencing persistent pain in the back of your heel, it's advisable to consult your physiotherapist to develop an appropriate management plan.

Body Fit Physiotherapy

North Adelaide Physiotherapist

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