Achilles tendonitis refers to inflammation of the Achilles tendon, usually resulting from overuse associated with a change of intensity/duration of an activity, changes in footwear or training surfaces. The Achilles tendon is an extension of the calf muscle and inserts into the back of the heel bone.
What causes Achilles Tendonitis?
With summer upon us, this condition becomes increasingly prevalent. As stated previously this is an overuse related injury, which can be amplified with the transition from shoes to barefoot during the warmer weather. This can place increased strain on the Achilles tendon as the muscles in our feet adapt to the higher heel pitch after wearing any kind of footwear during the colder months and become accustomed to this type of load. When we then transfer into footwear such as thongs, which do not have a high heel pitch, the Achilles is placed under strain, ultimately resulting in overloading the muscle and tendon and in severe cases injury.
How does it present?
Typically, pain at the back of the heel will be worst in the morning when you first get out of bed. After a few steps it usually improves, however as you become more active during the day pain can return. Thickening of the Achilles is also a common secondary effect of having long-standing Achilles tendonitis.
How do you treat Achilles tendonitis?
Treatment usually begins in the short term with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Strengthening exercises are also an important part of the treatment process from an early stage. Heel raises, shockwave therapy and orthotic therapy can also help with achieving a better outcome and prevention of the injury occurring again.
How long will it be until I am back to normal?
Typically, Achilles tendonitis takes approximately 6 weeks to resume pre-injury activity levels; however, it can be longer or shorter than this depending on the extent of the injury, daily activities and the duration of the injury. Every patient is different and we take pride in devising an individual treatment program for each person that we treat.
The Pro Podiatry team specialise in this area of treatment so if you feel you are having trouble with Achilles pain, please contact Pro Podiatry or book online at prohealthcare.com.au.
Pro Podiatry SA, Jake Pitt, Podiatrist