Achilles Tendinopathy: Why the pain at the back of your heel needs to be treated as soon as it starts!
If you’ve ever suffered with pain at the back of your heel from your achilles tendon, you’ll know that it’s not only uncomfortable and painful but can also be very limiting to daily activities because of the massive role your achilles tendon plays in taking each step and the large amount of force it takes through every step.
What you may not know,is the importance of getting any issues or pains with your achilles tendon seen to quickly and effectively – more so than other muscles and tendons of the feet and legs. This is because unlike damage to other tendons that follows a process of swelling and inflammation, achilles tendinopathy follows a more degenerative pathway where the tendon fibres will degenerate and weaken over time.
This means that unlike other conditions where you just need to reduce the swelling and wait for it to heal, with achilles tendinopathy you actually need to actively work to strengthen the tendon as part of your rehabilitation. It also means that the longer the injury is left unmanaged, the worse it’ll get, and the more recovery time and rehabilitation it’ll require. So don’t put it off!
If you’re unfamiliar with achilles injuries, here’s a little recap on achilles tendinopathy:
What is it?
Achilles tendinopathy describes damage to the achilles tendon where it inserts into the back of your heel from your calves. Overloading and high forces cause the tendon fibres to sustain micro-tears, or in worse case scenarios partial tears or even complete ruptures.
What causes it?
Activities that put a lot of force and strain through the tendon. This includes:
- Increasing your training intensity – particularly up hills
- Abnormal foot biomechanics that result in a pull at the achilles tendon
- Tight musculature, especially the calves
- Unsupportive footwear and low set heels like in footy boots
- Jumping sports and running
What are the symptoms?
Pain and discomfort at the back of the heel that may radiate up the back of the leg is the biggest symptom. The back of the heel and leg may feel stiff, and there may be some initial inflammation. The achilles tendon may be tender to pinch at the back of the heel.
So, what’s the verdict?
If you’re getting pain, discomfort or even a persistent niggle at the back of your heel that you’re worried may turn into something then come in and see us. This is particularly important if you’ve recently started exercising or increased your running or training schedule. Achilles injury can quickly stop you in your tracks if it’s not taken seriously and effectively managed so early intervention is key!
Our team at Perform Podiatry specialise in sports injuries and clinical biomechanics. We pride ourselves in providing the best care to all our patients. Join our team of happy patients! Give us a call on 09 523 2333