Treating Achilles Tendinopathy

Are you dealing with Achilles tendinopathy? This painful condition is characterised by swelling and pain of the Achilles tendon; that is, the tendon that connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. 

The Achilles tendon is essential for mobility, such as walking and running, making it crucial to get safe and effective treatment if it’s damaged. In this post, we’ll provide information on treating Achilles tendinopathy using a combination of at-home remedies and shockwave therapy in Twickenham

Please bear in mind that although the information and tips in this article are helpful in treating Achilles tendinopathy, for specific advice and guidance, please contact a physiotherapist for a professional assessment.

What is Achilles tendinopathy? 

Achilles tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon that connects your heel bone to your calf. It’s a fairly common injury, especially if you have an active lifestyle or enjoy playing sports. 

As the strongest and thickest tendon in your body, your Achilles tendon enables you to move your foot when you run, walk, climb or jump. However, if you have Achilles tendinopathy, it can be painful, more difficult or even impossible to take part in your usual activities. 

Achilles tendinopathy occurs when your Achilles tendon becomes overloaded or even damaged and doesn’t function the way it should. As a result, you may experience pain, stiffness and in some cases, even swelling around your Achilles.

Causes of Achilles tendinopathy

Achille tendinopathy is caused by tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon. The damage is usually the result of repeated stress to your Achilles tendon over time. The overuse causes changes to the structure of the tendon, which makes it weaker. 

Professional athletes are not the only people at risk of Achilles tendinopathy. People who pursue an active lifestyle are also prone to damaging their Achilles tendon and developing Achilles tendinopathy. This can include activities such as running, or playing tennis or squash. Activities that involve jumping, such as dancing or gymnastics, can also make people more susceptible to damaging their Achilles tendons. 

As summer is the perfect time to be active and participate in sports, it’s important to think about the effects these activities can have on your body. For example, wearing the wrong footwear or using badly designed equipment can put you at increased risk. Likewise, not training properly or having poor technique can also be dangerous. 

Treating Achilles tendinopathy at home

To relieve symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy from the comfort of your home, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, we recommend taking the time to rest. Refusing to take a break from sporting activities can prolong the pain and exacerbate the injury. 

Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel can also bring relief as the coolness can help ease pain and reduce swelling. We recommend gently applying the ice pack on the affected area for 10 minutes. 

With guidance from your physiotherapist, specific and graded exercises can rehabilitate your Achilles and other related muscle groups.

Taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can also help temporarily relieve painful symptoms.  

Medical treatments to try 

In addition to at-home remedies, medical treatments can help boost the healing process and bring you much-needed relief. For example, shockwave therapy is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for chronic tendon injuries. 

Completely non-invasive, shockwave therapy uses a hand-held device to pass high energy sound waves through the body. When performed alongside appropriate rehabilitation exercises, shockwave therapy helps the tendon regenerate. 

Physiotherapy is also a great way to reduce pain, recover movement and get back to doing what you love. One of our experienced physiotherapists can help you regain mobility and speed up your journey to recovery using safe and effective techniques. 

Get in touch

If you think you could benefit from shockwave therapy in Twickenham or would like more information on our services, one of our experienced physiotherapists will be happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8898 1231 to speak to our professional practitioners.