Achilles Tendonitis

What Is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendinosis is often described as having a painful, often caused by the inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel.


What Are The Causes Of Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis can be caused by:

  • Overuse
  • Joint and muscle impairments
  • Biomechanical dysfunction
  • Calf, midfoot, or ankle tightness
  • Poor flexibility
  • Over-pronating foot
  • Lack of hip/lower leg stability
  • Improper gait mechanics


What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Achilles Tendinopathy?

When someone has Achilles tendinopathy there is often pain at the back of the heel, swelling, decreased ankle range of motion, pain with walking/running, tenderness at the back of the heel, tight calves, decreased joint mobility, and calf weakness.


What Are The Risk Factors Of Achilles Tendonitis?

Patients who increase activity to quickly (i.e. an inactive person starting running or sports, suddenly increasing run mileage without slowly building up), acute injury to the Achilles tendon, poor body mechanics, improper gait pattern are all at risk to acquire Achilles Tendonitis 

How Is Achilles Tendonitis Diagnosed?

It can be diagnosed by a physical therapist when a patient exhibits the signs and symptoms listed above. MRI imaging can assist in a diagnosis.


What Are The Possible Treatments For Achilles Tendonitis?

Manual therapy to improve muscle length in tight muscles (including soft tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger point release), joint mobilization to stiff or hypermobile joints, stretching, strengthening (especially eccentric strengthening) of the calves, strength and stability training to the hips/lower legs and core, plyometric training for individuals who run or participate in sports, gait training, functional exercise to improve body mechanics and eliminate improper movement patterns


Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Achilles Tendonitis?

To prevent tendonitis it is important to maintain healthy muscles and increase joint flexibility, avoid poor body mechanics, participating in cross-training for athletes.


What Are The Risks If Achilles Tendonitis Is Left Untreated?

If Achilles tendonitis is left untreated it could lead to chronic heel pain, chronic heel swelling, or an Achilles tendon rupture.


Are There Other Related Conditions To Achilles Tendonitis?

Calf muscle strain, foot overpronation (flat foot), or even an Achilles tendon rupture.


Key Takeaways About Achilles Tendonitis

Some key notes about this issue are:

  • Achilles tendonitis, if left untreated, can become a chronic condition that affects walking and participation in sports.
  • Nothing exists in a vacuum. It is important to address not just the heel, but also the foot, ankle, knee, and hip to see how each area in contributing to the condition and to make sure the condition does not come back.
  • Exercise alone will not cure and prevent future episodes of Achilles tendonitis. Manual therapy (joint and muscle work) plays an essential role in healing.



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