Achilles Tendinopathy

By M. Anderson, Physica Physiotherapy, 31/01/2017

Getting back into pre-season training or increasing your activity level can be a big challenge to your body and overload injuries can often develop. Achilles tendinopathy is one condition that can develop with changes in load and is associated with pain along the Achilles tendon.

The great news is there is plenty of evidence supporting exercise to manage Achilles tendinopathy. This means resting and waiting for the problem to go away by itself is often a waste of time and can result in greater deficits. Tendons respond to progressive increases to loading and so getting back into the gym with an appropriate rehabilitation program is often the best way forward. Isometric exercises have been shown to reduce tendon pain, therefore isometric single leg calf raises can be a great way to manage your symptoms prior to training. Rehabilitation needs to incorporate both eccentric and concentric movements of the Achilles tendon, which may involve weighted single leg calf raises on the floor or on the edge of a step. Importantly the Achilles tendon is crucial in storing and releasing energy and plyometric exercises, such as fatigue hops and skipping, are a great way to progress your rehabilitation to involve high tendon loading activities.

A few extra tips in managing your Achilles pain:

Gradually increasing your training load allows tendons to adapt helping to reduce your risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy. Actively stretching your calf may further irritate your pain so use a foam roller if you feel your calves are tight. There is a poor link between symptoms and imaging of the Achilles so don’t be worried by imaging reports. Injections are often not required, especially after a thorough rehabilitation program.

If you feel like you’re experiencing Achilles pain, or any other injury, you can contact Matthew Anderson at Physica Physiotherapy to find out if any of the above tips are appropriate for you. As part of your Training Day Gym membership you receive 10% off consultations with Matthew. Call Physica on 9017 5223. 

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