Lindsey Ebbs Podiatry - Podiatry Insights

Achilles Tendinitis / Tendinosis/ Tendinopathy, which one do I have?

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel, it is considered to be strongest tendon in the body and its movement helps you step up on your toes, run and jump.

It is often taken for granted and its only when it is injured do you realise what an amazing job it actually does?

Achilles Tendinitis is a slightly outdated description of the condition when it was considered to be in an acute inflammatory stage (when you first feel the pain) whereas, more often than not inflammation was not involved. The terms Tendinosis is more commonly used now for the initial presentation and Tendinopathy for when the condition has been there more than 3 months and is classified as a chronic stage.

There are two sites that Achilles’ problems can be located; One is the insertion of the Achilles tendon into the heel bone or mid portion Achilles’ tendinopathy which is usually 2-7cm further above the tendon from the insertion into the heel.

How do I know I have an Achilles problem?

Symptoms usually present as pain and or stiffness in the tendon, that is present first thing in the morning, or when the body has been stationary for a while. It can often feel better upon movement but the pain can return after resting.

Sometimes a swelling that is painful to touch is present at the back of the heel, feeling a bit nodular/lumpy in texture.

What causes an Achilles Tendinosis/Tendinopathy?

We know some of the contributing factors are sudden weight gain, tight calf muscles, a sudden increase in activity causing overuse injuries and training errors are often a common cause.

Medical conditions such as psoriasis, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, lupus and diabetes create a higher risk of developing Achilles issues.

Certain antibiotics called Fluoroquinolones have been associated with higher rates of Achilles Tendinosis

Increasing age and a higher incidence in males are contributing factors to Achilles issues.

Biomechanical faults with the foot and leg will put added strain on the Achilles tendon as will faulty inappropriate footwear.

Degeneration of the tendon usually associated with age is considered to be a major contributor

How can I treat Achilles’ tendinosis myself?

Working out why it is there in the first place is the most important thought process, if this is not addressed then the likely hood of it going is less.

If it has just happened and it is in its acute stage then rest from any activity and ice the area involved for a week, wear shoes that are pitched higher at the heel or put spongy heel raises in both shoes.

Gently, start to increase any activity, preferably in a non-weight bearing situation like swimming or cycling.

If the condition has moved into a chronic stage and is still troubling after months of pain and niggling then this is the time to consult a podiatrist, as the risk of complete rupture gets higher the longer the Tendinosis is present.

What can a Podiatrist do to help me to get rid of the problem?

At the Foothub Whitby, we use a multi-factorial holistic approach to this particular problem.

We are fortunate that we have the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment and treatment modalities at the clinic. This helps us diagnose and instigate the correct treatment plan for patients on an individual basis

Below is some of the treatment options we off at the clinic;

Shockwave treatment for conditions that have been troublesome for 12 weeks or longer, this treatment instigates a change at cellular level, resetting the healing process. What is shockwave therapy and will it work for me?

Laser therapy is amazing at stimulating the healing process and in the reduction of pain levels. Marco the M6 MLS Robotic Laser

Fascial manipulation is probably the most unfamiliar treatment plan we offer but it is the one that gives the most incredible results. Fascial manipulation of the lower limb. (Stecco Method®)

Pressure gait analysis highlighting any abnormal tissue stress that maybe overloading the Achilles tendon and possibly an orthotic prescription to address this issue. Pressure plate gait analysis and 3D printed orthotics

Bespoke electronic exercise plan for home use to strengthen not only the calf muscles but other groups of muscles that may be weaker than they should be, contributing to an overloaded Achilles tendon.

If you are not sure whether you have an Achilles problem, or it is not going after months or even years of struggling with this problem. Give the clinic a call, so we can see what treatment will work for you to get you out of pain so you can get on with your life

The Foothub Whitby
3, Byland Road
YO21 1JH

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