achilles tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy is an overuse injury characterised by pain and swelling of the Achilles tendon and can occur either mid-tendon or at the attachment to the bone at the heel of the foot. It is a condition that is found in both athletes/recreational exercisers as well as inactive people and is a result of gradual wear and tear to the tissue from repetitive motions or ageing.

This type of injury tends to develop slowly over time, however can become painful suddenly following a high force impact through the tendon, which due to its previous weakening leading to a larger, painful tear.

Achilles Tendinopathy typically presents as pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle and the heel of the foot. There is often a dull ache and stiffness after inactivity (worse in the morning) and pain is aggravated by exercise. In severe cases it may cause you to walk with a limp. The Achilles tendon itself may appear thickened, red and be painful to touch.

What causes it?

Predisposing factors that may increase the chances of developing Achilles Tendinopathy include:

  • Abnormal Biomechanics of the foot/ankle or elsewhere in the lower limb kinetic chain. (e.g. Flat feet or high arches with tight Achilles tendon)
  • Tight Hamstrings or calf muscles
  • Over training, or change in activity or surface
  • Decreased recovery time between training sessions
  • Change of footwear or poor footwear.
  • Type 2 diabetes.

What treatment is available?

Depending on the severity of the case, initially. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (R.I.C.E) are utilized in an acute case to reduce pain and inflammation. It may be necessary to use crutches for a short period to avoid weight bearing on the affected Achilles tendon.

The next stage of treatment involves normalizing the foot biomechanics, reducing tension in the muscles of the lower leg, and restoring eccentric and concentric strength of the calf muscles.

Another form of treatment, shown to have up to 76% success rates with long term follow ups is Shockwave Therapy1. Shockwave Therapy works by delivering high energy impulses, targeted to specific damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon. As a result, this micro trauma from repeated shockwaves to the affected area creates neo-vascularization (new blood vessel growth) into the area. This increase in blood flow is what promotes cell regeneration and healing. It also decreases local inflammatory factors that can cause pain. This even occurs in chronic cases, where the body has previously showed an unwillingness to heal on its own. It is one of the very few modern technologies that assist with healing once an injury has reached this chronic (long-term) state.

Therefore the Chiropractors at AHS recommend Shockwave therapy, in conjunction with other modalities to gain faster, longer lasting results. For more information, call us today on 9948 2826 or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE.


[mlajournal author=”Manganotti P., Amelio E., Guerra C. “Shock wave over hand muscles: a neurophysiological study on peripheral conduction nerves in normal subjects” journal=”M.LTJ- Muscle, Ligaments & Tendons Journal” volume=”Vol 2″ issue=” No 2″ year=”2012″ pages=”64 – 69″ medium=”Web” addt=”″]