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Achilles tendinopathy is an overuse injury affecting the tendon which connects the calf muscle to the foot. It is commonly found in runners secondary to the impact involved on the tendon resulting in thickening and pain. There are 2 types of Achilles tendinopathy, reactive or degenerative, which require a number of different forms of physiotherapy treatment to get you back into running.

Causes of Achilles Tendinopathy

There are many causes of Achilles tendinopathy which can result in pain and an increased thickening of the tendon. It is often linked with running due to the repetitive impact involved in running as the foot hits the ground.

Causes of Achilles tendinopathy may include:
  • Increase in distance or speed of running or sport
  • Too much running in a short period of time
  • High intensity training sessions
  • Introduction of new running drills
  • Muscle imbalance/weakness
  • Change in trainers
  • Change in running terrain or conditions e.g. from grass to concrete
  • Increase in body weight
  • Poor foot biomechanics including over-pronated (or flat) feet
  • Gender - oestrogen estrogen levels can impact the ability to develop a tendinopathy
  • Genetics
  • Age 30-55 is the most common age group for degenerative tendinopathy
  • Some types of medication can also predispose Achilles tendinopathy

Biomechanical assessment for runners using videography Above: Biomechanical assessment for runners using videography

Your physiotherapist will highlight any possible causes of Achilles tendinopathy during your 'Biomechanical running' assessment.

Signs and Symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy

Signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy can vary depending upon its type. Reactive tendinopathy commonly presents in the young running population. This type usually presents with acute pain at the tendon following overload in training.

Degenerative Achilles tendinopathy usually presents in the older running population as a result of overload to a 'grumbly' tendon. Degenerative tendinopathy may not present with pain until it something triggers it to become reactive.

Signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include:
  • Pain at the Achilles tendon
  • Visible and palpable thickening in the Achilles tendon
  • Morning stiffness
  • Pain following periods of inactivity
  • Pain easing with running but then worse after
  • Redness in the area after a run
  • Altered gait or running pattern due to pain and tightness
Your physiotherapist be able to diagnose Achilles tendinopathy during your Biomechanical Running Assessment.

Physiotherapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

Physiotherapy treatment for Achilles tendinopathy takes a number of forms once its cause and type have been identified by your physiotherapist at your assessment.

Physiotherapy for Achilles tendinopathy may include: Your treatment will be chosen and explained to you by your physiotherapist based on your individual presentation, lifestyle and goals.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

Benefits of physiotherapy for Achilles tendinopathy include:
  • Reduced pain
  • Increased flexibility
  • Addressing the cause of the problem
  • Return to running
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased flexibility of the calf complex and Achilles tendon
  • Increased running efficiency
  • Faster speed when running
  • Injury prevention techniques

To arrange a biomechanical running assessment with one of the specialist physiotherapists, please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 today. You can also book appointments online using our online booking system

Call us on: 0330 088 7800
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