Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a painful and disabling inflammation (swelling) of the Achilles tendon. A tendon is a type of connective tissue that connects muscle to bone; in this case it joins the calf muscles to the heel bone, as shown in the picture.

Achilles tendonitis is frequently caused by sporting activities, in particular football, basketball and racquet sports. This is due to the sudden stops and starts involved, as well as jumping and other sudden movements that stress the tendon. Women who wear high heels are also at risk. If your foot over-pronates (flattens too much when you walk and run) there is likely to be greater strain than normal placed on the muscles of the lower leg and on the Achilles tendon.

If you are an infrequent exerciser or have just started exercising you are more at risk of developing Achilles tendonitis as the muscles and tendon are inflexible and not used to the strain being placed on them. Achilles tendonitis can also occur later in life because the arch of the foot flattens over time. It is important if you have recently started exercising that you stretch properly, start slowly and increase gradually.

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis initially consists of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Stop exercising until the pain has subsided and ice twice a day for fifteen minutes each time. Anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen will help to reduce swelling. After a few days and if the pain and swelling have reduced, try gently stretching your calf muscles but make sure that you’re not overstretching and causing yourself pain.

Massage will help speed up your rate of recovery by increasing blood flow to the area which promotes faster repair and recovery. It will also help with stretching out the muscles in your foot and calf and preventing the build-up of scar tissue, ensuring that your foot and ankle can stay flexible and injury-free. Stretching and strengthening exercises may help and at Calder Massage you can be advised as to which are relevant to you. An assessment of your posture may also help determine if your problem is caused by a muscle imbalance and/or problems with your posture. Cross-training (practicing a variety of sports and not just concentrating on one) can help ensure that specific muscles don’t get overused and that you have a good muscle balance. If the problem is long-standing and doesn’t respond to the above treatment, then you may be considered for corticosteroid injections or surgery, though these are only necessary in a minority of very severe cases.

If you think that you might be suffering from Achilles tendonitis or if you’re not exactly sure what the cause of your problem is then give me a call or email here at Calder Massage and I’d be glad to get you on the road to recovery.

Contact Details

Calder Physiotherapy & Massage
18 Albert Street
Hebden Bridge
07981 931853

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