Causes of Achilles tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is caused by excess strain on the Achilles tendon. Factors that can increase load and strain on the Achilles tendon include:
- Poor foot mechanics or excess foot pronation
- Tight or weak calf muscles
- Poor ankle joint flexion
- Increase in training or loads
- Inadequate warm up or stretching before sport
- Activities involving running, jumping, hopping or sudden changes of direction
- Poor footwear
Achilles tendinopathy occurs when there is too much strain on the tendon, resulting in small micro tears within the tendon fibers.
Achilles tendinosis occurs when there is repeated micro trauma or degeneration to the tendon. It results in scar tissue build up within the tendon due to the chronic torn fibers. This can often be felt as a lump within the tendon.
Achilles tendon rupture occurs when there is complete or partial tear. This can be the result of an acute incident such as a sudden pivot, jump or acceleration or degeneration of the tendon. An Achilles tendon rupture results in a sharp onset of pain with significant swelling making weight bearing difficult. Athletes may even hear the tendon snap. Surgery if often required for complete Achilles tendon ruptures.
Achilles tendinopathy diagnosis
Achilles tendinopathy is easily diagnosed clinically by our Melbourne sports podiatrists, who are experts in identifying sports injuries of the foot and ankle. In some cases referral for an ultrasound scan of the Achilles tendon may be required to check for tears and other issues as this can alter the course of treatment.
Podiatry treatment for Achilles tendinopathy
The sports podiatrists at Melbourne Podiatrists & Orthotics are experts in Achilles tendinopathy treatment for all athletes. Treatment options at our Melbourne podiatry clinic may include:
- Ultrasound or laser therapy
- Stretching and strengthening
- Footwear advice
Treatment is firstly aimed at reducing strain on the tendon to reduce symptoms and followed by a focus on progressive exercises to stretch and strengthen the Achilles. Addressing the cause of Achilles tendinopathy is often the key to success and helps prevent a reoccurrence.
Poor foot mechanics and excess foot pronation are often causative factors that get overlooked as this places more strain on the Achilles tendon when the foot rolls in. Our Melbourne podiatrists can use computer gait analysis to check your feet and gait to see if they may be causative factor in your Achilles tendon injury.
Early diagnosis and treatment with a sports podiatrist can help treat Achilles tendinopathy and prevent it becoming a chronic condition.