This refers to inflammation in the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. There are a variety of terms used to describe problems with the Achilles tendon (tendonitis, tendinosis, tendinopathy), but the differences are not too important. It is a common overuse injury in sportspeople, particularly those who do a lot of running, or jumping. Repetitive use of the tendon leads to micro-tears, when these accumulate faster than they can be repaired them inflammation results. Factors that contribute to Achilles tendonitis include a recent increase in training volume, change in training surfaces or footwear, biomechanical problems and muscle tightness.
You will feel pain at the back of the heel in the tendon, it usually starts gradually and may initially only be painful after exercise (often the following morning). As the condition gets worse the symptoms become more intrusive and may start to interfere with sport and cause pain with day to day activities. You may notice swelling in the tendon at the back of the leg and an area of tenderness. Sometimes a clicking sensation can be felt.
If you think you have this condition it is well worth getting it checked out by Mr Willis-Owen. In the mean time you should avoid any aggravating activities which may prolong the problem. It generally won't get better on its own. The first thing to do is to reduce the problem activities, and start a concerted program of eccentric strengthening exercises. Anti-inflammatories and ice are helpful after exercise.
Charles has had this himself and not only got better from it but ended up faster and stronger.
Treatment involves first confirming the diagnosis then establishing the cause. X-rays or an ultrasound scan can be useful to exclude other problems and confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options may include specific physiotherapy, orthotics, injections or very rarely surgery. Most recently shockwave therapy has been shown to be very promising for treating this condition. This is a really exciting new non surgical treatment that gets your body to heal itself. It is no where near as painful as injections or surgery and is covered by most insurers and available to self funding patients. Click here to learn more: Shockwave.
Once you are recovered it is important to address any biomechanical problems, or other underlying factors in order to prevent recurrence.
I had tried everything for my Achilles problems and was ready to quit sport until Charles did shock wave on me. Even after the first few weeks I was feeling better and I am now back running marathons pain free. - Thanks Charles!