Conditions & Treatments - Achilles Tendonitis
Are you experiencing pain at your achilles tendon or heel? Does this pain worsen with walking, exercise or running? If this is your situation, then you may be experiencing a condition called achilles tendonitis. This is an injury that is commonly seen by a physical therapist and is often associated with poor foot mechanics and repetitive stress to the achilles tendon.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
The achilles tendon is the largest tendon (tendon connects muscle to bone) in the human body and is located at the back of the calf and inserts onto the heel. It is vulnerable to injury because of its limited blood supply, especially when it is subjected to strong forces (1). Forces involved in activities such as walking, running and jumping can lead to inflammation or irritation of the achilles tendon resulting in achilles tendonitis. The image provided displays the area of inflammation of the achilles tendon. Individuals suffering from achilles tendonitis can expect to experience sharp, burning or shooting pain in the region of the calf, tendon, and heel. Often times this pain is also accompanied with swelling and tenderness at the tendon and heel region. Achilles tendonitis occurs in about ten percent of runners, but the condition can also occur in other athletes as well because of training errors, over-pronation of the foot, poor footwear or a change in the training regime for variables such as frequency, speed, distance, and training surface (2,3). Individuals who first take up exercise or modify their normal exercise program are also subjected to developing achilles tendonitis, because their achilles tendon is not use to these added stresses and can become overused. It is recommended that an individual who has developed achilles tendonitis not continue with their current exercise program as this could lead to further complications to the area including rupture to the achilles tendon.
Achilles Tendonitis Treatment Options for a PT
· Ice Massage/Ice Packs
· Postural Training/Functional Training
· Strengthening (see video 02)
· Massage/Soft Tissue Mobilization
· Joint Mobilization
· Gait Training
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Last revised: June 6, 2008
by Chai Rasavong, MPT
1. Mazzone MF, McCue T. Common Conditions of the Achilles Tendon. American Family Physician 2002; 65:1805-1810.
2. James SL, Bates BT, Osternig RL. Injuries to Runners. Am J Sports Med 1978; 6:40-50.
3. Brukner P. Sports Medicine: Pain in the Achilles Region. Aust Fam Physician 1997; 26:463-465.