Achilles Tendinopathy

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?
The achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, and allows us to walk, run, jump, stand on our tip toes etc. During running, the achilles tendon is subject to increased loads of up to 12 x body weight, achilles tendinopathy is a common overuse injury, accounting for up to 11% of all running injuries. It is thought to occur due to abnormal tissue repair and tendon weakening.

The phase ‘too much too soon’ is often very fitting when looking at the cause of achilles tendinopathy. Training errors, along with wearing inappropriate footwear, abnormal lower limb biomechanics and inflexibility and weakness of the calf complex are all factors that can contribute to the onset of achilles tendinopathy in runners. One of the most common symptoms is pain and stiffness in the morning – local to the achilles tendon. This is because the tendon must tolerate full range of movement including stretch when getting up in the morning. Pain is often present during activity, and can be aggravated further after activity. Swelling is uncommon, however the tendon itself may appear thicker.

What can we do about it?
For achilles tendinopathy, complete rest is not advised. Recreational activity should continue within pain tolerance whilst participating in rehabilitation. Activities involving a lower tendon load can help to reduce the force being absorbed by the achilles tendon. Rehabilitation should focus on improving the strength and flexibility of the calf complex, improving biomechanics and altering training patterns. Eccentric exercises have been shown to have positive effects for tendinopathy.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.