Kinesio Taping on Muscles Calf Runner

Achilles Tendinopathy  Treatment 

Understanding Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a common sports injury characterised by pain and impaired function of the Achilles tendon—the strong fibrous cord that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. This condition is frequently observed in athletes, particularly runners, due to repetitive strain and overuse.

Causes and Risk Factors

The primary cause of Achilles tendinopathy is repetitive use of the Achilles tendon. Factors that can increase the risk of this condition include overtraining, inadequate warm-up, inadequate rest, inappropriate footwear, tight calf muscles, and age-related tendon degeneration.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy

The symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy typically develop gradually and include pain and stiffness along the tendon, stiffness in the morning or after prologued rest, thickening of the tendon, and pain that is worse after loading.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Achilles tendinopathy involves a physical examination, taking a patient history, and sometimes imaging tests to confirm the condition and rule out other injuries. Mostly, the diagnosis is possible to establish without needing imaging. We specialise in running injuries at The Recovery Room and using a questionnaire, such as a VISA-A, will give you a baseline score of your problem and track your progress through the rehabilitation process. This will monitor your progress but provide some motivation during the rehabilitation. 

Conservative Treatment Approaches

Conservative treatments for Achilles tendinopathy include rest, ice application, NSAIDs for pain relief, eccentric strengthening exercises, physical therapy, and orthotics. We will assess you and give you a recommended treatment plan, this will be based on your goals and functional needs. 

Advanced Treatment Options

Advanced treatments may be considered if conservative measures are not effective and can include corticosteroid injections, PRP therapy, shockwave therapy (ESWT). Although we can refer for PRP injections, we provide shockwave therapy in house and will be an option if you meet the criteria for its use.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is crucial in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, focusing on strengthening, soft tissue treatments, and modalities such as shockwave therapy. At The Recovery Room, we will combine the treatments, as one stretch will not be sufficient to get you back to a active pain-free life. 

Prevention and Lifestyle Modification

Preventive measures for Achilles tendinopathy include a gradual increase in training intensity, adequate warm-up and stretching, cross-training, and appropriate footwear. We can assess your acute/ chronic workload, a ratio of over 1.5 could leave you at risk of developing a running related injury. 

Prognosis

Most people with Achilles tendinopathy will recover fully with proper management, although recovery can be slower than other conditions due to poor blood supply to the area. We will assess your needs to make sure other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are not a cause of your tendon pain as you will need further investigations for this. 

 

Running sport injury. Female athlete jogger wearing pink sneakers touching her twisted or sprained a

Rehabilitation Strategies

Effective rehabilitation for Achilles tendinopathy requires a multifaceted approach. Eccentric exercise protocols are among the most researched and recommended treatments, with specific protocols detailed for patients to follow. Cross-training can aid in maintaining fitness while reducing load on the tendon. The use of orthoses, heel lifts, and manual therapies are also have their roles in effective rehabilitation, as well as the importance of managing load to avoid overuse. At The Recovery Room, James will work with you to produce ` bespoke plan to meet your needs. 

Psychological Impact and Management

The psychological impact of sports injuries, like Achilles tendinopathy, is profound. Strategies for psychological recovery are crucial for a complete return to sport. We will consider this when helping you recover from your injury. 

Long-term Management and Prevention

Long-term management and prevention of Achilles tendinopathy are key to a successful injury recovery. Strategies include the implementation of stretching and strengthening programs tailored to the individual’s needs and careful monitoring and adaptation of training loads to prevent overuse and recurrence of the injury.

 

Managing Achilles tendinopathy requires a comprehensive and bespoke treatment approach with tailored treatment for your needs. With proper management, you can return to full function. We can help you through the recovery process and  please contact us if we can help you. 

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