Achilles heel pain (Achilles tendonitis)

What is it?

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is found at the back of the ankle. It is more common in athletes, but anybody can suffer with this problem [1]. Variations of this problem include Achilles tendinopathy and Achilles tendinosis, but the symptoms are very similar.

Achilles heel pain, usually in the red area indicated on the picture

What causes it?

Achilles tendonitis is often caused by abnormal foot function. For example, if your heel shifts outwards when you walk, this can increase strain on the Achilles tendon [2]. A sudden increase in training, leading to overuse injury, can also lead to Achilles tendonitis, as can tight calf muscles [1].

What are the symptoms?

The back of the ankle will be swollen and painful. You may also find that the tendon thickens or becomes bumpy [2].

What podiatry treatments are available?

  • Biomechanical assessment and management – here at Open Podiatry we can assess your foot function and correct any biomechanical dysfunction with insoles. These aim to reduce any abnormal forces being applied to the tendon – allowing recovery and preventing further injury [1].

  • Stretches – our podiatrist may also prescribe specific stretching exercises, depending on your assessment results [1].

  • Laser therapy – coming soon to our clinic in Bradford.

References

1.     Lopez, G., and J, H. (2015) Achilles tendinosis: treatment options. Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery, 7(1):1-7.

2.     Maffulli, N., Sharma, P., and Luscombe, K. (2004) Achilles tendinopathy: aetiology and management. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 97(10):472-476.