Achilles tendonitis WHAT IS IT?
Achilles tendonitis is a painful inflammation of the achilles tendon.The achilles tendon runs from the heel bone approximately 1/3 up the calf where it attaches to the calf muscles. As with all tendons it can become inflammed from overuse and/or when foot biomechanics place extra stress on it. It can be sore to touch and painful during or after exercise. Patients also frequently report a stiffness in the area first thing in the morning or after resting it.
Physiotherapy for achilles tendonitis
Firstly the chartered physiotherapist will perform a bio-mechanical assessment to determine predisposing factors. Tight muscle groups, leg length differences and poor foot bio mechanics will be adressed. It is also helpful to examine footwear especially sports shoes. Unusual of asymmetric wear patterns may be detected.
Treatment can then be prescribed appropriately. Biomechanics may need to be improved with shoe inserts or orthotics. Electrotherapy such as ultrasound and interferential can help ease pain and inflammation.
An exercise program will then be prescribed to strengthen the tendon and stretch tight muscles in the legs.
Stretching any tight leg muscles can be helpful. The physiotherapist will check all lower limb muscle groups for flexibility. If any groups are found to be tight stretches will be prescribed.
Tendon strengthening involves a very specific type of exercise known as eccentric loading/eccentric strengthening. Achilles tendonitis exercises will utilize the calf muscles.Your physiotherapist will carefully instruct you in an appropriate program. To assist with remembering the exercise program a printed handout will be given to the patient.