Achilles Tendinopathy is a degeneration of collagen fibers within the Achilles tendon, causing localized pain.
Achilles Tendinopathy can be caused by a variety of factors, including;
- Rapid increases in training volume and/or intensity
- Rapid transition into new footwear
- Certain antibiotics or corticosteroids,
- Tight calf muscles
- Rubbing and irritation from hard heel counters in footwear
- The use of conventionally shaped, tapered footwear
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon, primarily in the morning and following use
- Increased pain following exercise
- Achilles tendon thickening
- Observable changes in gait
The Achilles tendon is comprised of two muscles, the Gastrocnemius, and the Soleus. There are nine other lower leg muscles that travel from the calf and shin and insert lower on the foot and out to the toes. By strengthening and supporting surrounding musculature, we can off-load the overworked Achilles tendon to foster recovery. Conservative treatment for Achilles Tendinopathy includes:
- A slow, gradual transition to naturally shaped footwear that is level (zero-drop), and widest at the ends of the toes. This will place all the lower leg muscles back into their natural length-to-tension relationship.
- Correct Toes will ensure proper toe alignment, optimizing circulation and encouraging balance.
- Rest or reduction in activity
- Eccentric stretching and strengthening
- Physical Therapy
- Therapeutic ultrasound