One of the most common injures we see is Achilles tendinopathy, a chronic condition most commonly seen in endurance runners. The Achilles is the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Typically, people complain of stiffness in the Achilles first thing in the morning, that wears off through day. We usually only see people once the pain starts to impact their running.
The injury does not have one clearly defined cause, but we do know that the collagen fibres in the tendon become inflamed, causing stiffness and pain, and this disruption to the fibres often creates a ‘bump’ in the tendon.
There are two types of Achilles injury: the acute ‘reactive’ tendon from increases in training load – either increasing training distance or, intensity or frequency; and a’ degenerative’ tendon when the problem is more longstanding. Early management of the problem is the key to success.
Research in this area is continually evolving and recommended treatments change accordingly. Biomechanical assessment, soft tissue and joint mobilisation, concentric and eccentric loading programs and Shock wave Therapy (SWT) all form part of rehab.
A recent research project carried out by the Private Physiotherapy Educational Foundation (PPEF) looked at associated risk factors in the general running population
- Previous calf pain.
- Ankle stiffness.
- Regular calf stretching – evidence suggests it is better to use an active warm up or strength training rather than stretch to reduce injuries.
- Regular strength training – if this does not include calf strengthening.
- Orthotics – a sign of other foot problems and may increase stress on Achilles.
- Previous tendinopathy.
If any of these sound familiar, then get in touch with us to discuss how we could help you.