The Achilles tendon is the thick band of tissue that joins the lower part of the calf (the muscles at the back of the lower leg) to the heel. These muscles play an essential role in pushing off the ground when walking and running but also in absorbing forces as you land. Sudden increases in the amount of exercise you are doing, especially where there are larger forces involved, for example, running further, running uphill, playing more tennis etc, can often result in the break down of the Achilles tendon. This results in Achilles Tendinopathy.
Treatment involves reducing your activity to the point where the tendon is no longer irritated. This does not mean to stop exercising. In fact rest has been shown to be of little benefit to the overall healing of tendon injuries. It may be you have to stop tennis or running, but you can still cycle or swim. There is a very specific strengthening protocol.
which was devised in the 1990’s by a surgeon called Alfredson. He found that careful raises up onto your toes on both legs and then lowering your heel back to the ground on the sore leg, repeated correctly, resulted in resolution of the symptoms over several months. This can be incorporated with stretching and release of the calf complex, for example using massage or dry needling.
Another small but important things to consider is when standing, stand with your weight 2/3 on your heels. If you are on your toes your achilles tendon is under constant strain. Sit with your feet flat on the floor-this will keep the Achilles from knotting up each time you sit. Recovering from a tendinopathy is a slow process. It takes time and careful exercise progression. If this injury is already plaguing you or if you just want to find out more please feel free to contact the team at Physiologix on (07) 3511 1112 or email us.