The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon located in the back of the leg. It connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf to an insertion point at the calcaneus- the heel bone. It is the strongest tendon in the body and allows people to push off while walking, running and jumping.
The most common injured area is at the muscle-tendon junction – the area where the calf muscles join with the tendon. This junction has a smaller blood supply than does the muscular area of the leg and this makes the healing process slower than it is in many other leg injuries.
Chronic, long-lasting Achilles tendon disorders range from overuse injuries that cause inflammation or degeneration, to acute traumas such as Achilles tendon ruptures. Pain along the back of the ankle or in the heel are often the result of distinct problems along the course of the Achilles tendon or at its point of attachment to the heel of the foot. This type of pain may also be caused by retrocalcaneal bursitis, which is sometimes called Achilles tendon bursitis.
The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain and swelling in the backside of your heel when you walk or run. Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.
You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity. Some thickening of the Achilles tendon might be present too.
Achilles tendon injuries are often caused by overload, a sudden increase in physical activity without allowing your body to adjust. It can also be caused by arthritis or degenerative changes, especially among middle-aged and older adults.
Most people who have injuries and inflammation related to overuse of the tendon undergo nonsurgical treatments. These can include rest or other modification of activities, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and usually physical therapy (rehabilitation).
In rehabilitation, a physiotherapist will guide you how to modify your activities to keep exercising with minimum pain, will provide some treatment to increase the healing process like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, hands-on techniques and Shockwave. They will also give you specific rehabilitation programme to regain function and prevent future problems.
If you are experiencing any discomfort and having some -or all- the above symptoms, get in touch to let us help you understand your issue more clearly and speed up your recovery!
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