Achilles Tendon Injuries

May 2, 2018

The Achilles tendon travels from your calf muscle to your heel.  It can commonly be injured during athletic activities (running, jumping, etc), from overuse, or lack of strength in most cases.

Signs and Symptoms

People tend to complain of tightness and pain behind their heel.  Pain can actually be worse after sitting/sleeping for a long period of time.  People might even notice a bump in the tendon.  A lot of people say that they have less pain in shoes without a back that rubs on their heel.

Overuse

The most common cause of pain in the Achilles tendon is overuse.  This is seen in athletes that specialize in a single sport (no cross-training).  This means that they spend all their time doing the exact same movement patterns and rarely afford their bodies enough recovery time.  People that increase their workout too much too fast can see similar effects by pushing the tissue past the point it can handle.

Pain can be sharp in the first 1-2 weeks usually tapering off to a dull ache by 4 weeks when not treated appropriately.  Pain can persist for more than 12 weeks if not addressed and will inhibit the person’s ability to walk without pain or return to exercise.

What To Do

Initially, stretching and icing are a good place to start.  Start by stretching your calf muscles and ice your heel 2-3x/day for about 10 minutes at a time.  Try to avoid sprinting or progressing your exercise routine at this time.  If the pain goes away, start slowly increasing your routine again.  Try to add more variety to your exercise routine to avoid overuse problems.

What To Do After 1 Week

Unfortunately, this problem can become chronic.  In this case, try the mini routine below twice per day.  If that does not get rid of the pain after a week, call us.

Bilateral Heel Raises vs. a Step:

 

Tennis Ball Active Release:

 

Tennis Ball Active Release:

 

What are the outcomes related to conservative treatment (physical therapy)?

The majority of people will have a complete resolution of symptoms.  If they continue their home exercises prescribed by the physical therapist, most will not see a reoccurrence of the condition.

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Comments

Suzie

I love the mini exercise routine! I\'ll try it out at home.

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