What is Achilles Tendinopathy?
The Achilles tendon is the strong fibrous band of connective tissue that rises from the heel bone and attaches into the calf muscles. It is the thickest tendon in the body and due to its high weight-bearing nature it is prone to injury. Overuse of the calf muscles can lead to overloading of the Achilles tendon, leading to micro-tearing and degeneration causing pain, known as a tendinopathy.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy?
If you suffer from Achilles tendinopathy (previously known as tendonitis), the tendon may feel thicker and swollen. Although it may feel pain-free when performing exercise or walking, it is usually painful later once you have stopped the activity. If the injury worsens and is not treated, then the pain may come on during activity as well as after.
How can the therapists at Mike Varney Physiotherapy help?
The latest treatment for Achilles tendon injuries is Radial Shockwave Therapy. This is an innovative technology that has been shown to be highly effective in treating soft-tissue injuries. Shockwave works by passing electro-pneumatic mechanical soundwaves from a handheld device into the tendon. This very slightly disrupts the tendon fibres and stimulates the release of both painkilling and healing chemicals down to the affected area, accelerating the healing process. This is used alongside other treatments such as manual therapy, deep tissue massage of the calf muscles, ultrasound and acupuncture. Strapping of the Achilles tendon using Kinesio tape has also been shown to effectively offload the tendon to allow healing. Your therapist will also provide you with a home exercise plan for you to complete between sessions involving stretching and strengthening for the tendon. We normally recommend weekly treatments for Achilles tendon injuries, however these are normally spaced out as the injury improves.