Achilles Tendon Injury
The achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) to the heel bone and is therefore under constant loading when weight-bearing.
Why does achilles injury occur?
Injury or irritation of the tendon can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Tight/weak calf muscles
- Poorly fitting shoes
- Foot problems / biomechanics
- Poor training regime
- Cold weather training
- Previous injury
- Gender - male > female
Symptoms of Achiiles Tendon Injury
- Gradual onset of pain in the Achilles tendon during and after exercise.
- Localised swelling
- Morning stiffness in the tendon area.
- Pain when you perform a heel raise.
What you can do
- Ensure that you warm up/down before and after exercising, for example, with a fast walk.
- Wear properly fitting shoes
- See your Physiotherapist
Regularly stretch your calf muscles as follows:-
- Gastrocnemius: Face the wall and place one foot forwards and the other back, keeping heels flat on the floor. Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight to stretch the calf.
- Soleus Stretch: Start in the position as above but bend your back leg as well, to stretch the deep calf muscle.
- Toe Flexor Stretch: Still facing the wall, place one foot in front and the other behind. Place a book under the front of your back foot, keeping your heel on the floor and your knee straight to feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Stretch 30s x 2 - Avoid Pain.
NB: AVOID STRETCHING IN THE EARLY DAYS AFTER INJURY
What your physiotherapist can do
A thorough assessment will help determine the cause and nature of your problem, looking at all aspects including foot position, core stability, gait and footwear. Treatment may include: -
- Hands-on specific technique to the muscles and tendons
- Electrotherapy to reduce pain and swelling
- Specific tailored exercises
- Advice on your training programme
- Corrective advice / treatment to avoid injury
Rehabilitation after injury
Your physiotherapist will guide you through a progressive strengthening regime to allow your achilles tendon to heal and prevent further injury.
BE PATIENT - tendon injuries are slow to improve but generally respond very well to physiotherapy and careful self-management. Come and see us for Gosforth Physiotherapy.