- Calf muscle tightness.
- Foot posture, particularly if you have a foot type where you tend to walk or run on the “outside” or lateral aspect of your heel, then your forefoot flattens quickly causing a ‘Whipping’ of the Achilles. This extra movement injures the tendon causing pain.
- Old shoes that are no longer able to maintain foot position or help with shock absorption are a common factor in Achilles problems.
- Sudden change in activity levels can strain the tendon.
How do I treat Achilles tendon pain?
The use of ice is regarded by some researchers as the single most useful intervention in the management of early acute phase of Achilles Tendinopathy. However, always be wary of complete Achilles tendon rupture. If your tendon pain started suddenly, feeling like you had been hit or shot in the heel, if you have a lot of swelling / bruising, if you cannot point your toes down and if you are finding walking very difficult, seek medical advice at your local A&E department. Complete rupture of the Achilles tendon needs either immobilisation in a plaster cast or surgical repair.
If you think you need further advice see a Physiotherapist. We can assess your injury and help identify causes. Treatment to your tendon may include local ultrasound, strapping and mobility work progressing on to deep friction massage, stretching and strengthening work. Collagen repair and remodelling is stimulated by tendon loading so complete rest can be detrimental. A physiotherapist will also assess your back, sacro-iliac joint, hip, knee and foot to check that there is nothing amiss which can affect tendon function.
Do seek advice sooner rather than later as chronic tendon problems are more difficult to resolve. However, attention to simple stretches and a sensible training programme will go a long way to ensuring that your Achilles will never be your weak spot.
McNaughton Physiogrange September 2013